THE Commander of EUFOR, Major General (MG) Dieter Heidecker,  welcomed Mr Emil DIMITRIEV, the Deputy Defence Minister of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to EUFOR HQ at Camp Butmir, Sarajevo (26 February 2013).

Briefing on current EUFOR tasks and activities, MG Heidecker highlighted EUFOR’s endeavours to provide comprehensive peace support operations.  The approaching Operational Rehearsal (OPREH 2.2), commencing in mid-April, was discussed.  This is of particular importance as it will demonstrate the ability of EUFOR to exercise its Intermediate Reserve Forces as well as its capacity to work closely alongside the Armed Forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina.  COM EUFOR also made clear EUFOR’s firm commitment to work with partners to improve disposal rates for stocks of ageing surplus ammunition and weapons, being stored and guarded in various sites throughout BiH.  
Mr DIMITRIEV stated his country retained strong links to EUFOR and paid tribute to his eleven compatriots who tragically lost their lives while serving on the mission:  these were aboard a former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia MI-17 military helicopter which crashed on 12 January 2008 near Skopje, on a flight returning military personnel home on completion of their operational service with EUFOR.  Looking ahead, Mr DIMITRIEV stated:  “Our country is proud to contribute to the EUFOR Mission and will continue to do so”, he further commented, “EUFOR remains an important element in providing peace and security in BiH, neighbouring countries and the wider region.”  
The meeting concluded with Mr DIMITRIEV stating his country’s long-term desire is to become a full member of the European Union and that in the interim period it could be relied upon to provide steadfast support to EUFOR’s mission within BiH.

Chief Press Officer:
Lt Col Otmar Lindner
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Lt Cdr Gareth Jones RN
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