A NATO project to safely destroy 11.6 thousand tons of small arms and light weapons (SALW) ammunition in Albania has been officially launched on 31 July.
Ambassador Ilir Boçka, Head of the Albanian Mission to NATO, signed an Implementing Agreement with the NATO Maintenance and Supply Agency (NAMSA), allowing project execution to begin.
The project is part of NATO’s Partnership for Peace Trust Fund initiative. The Fund was established in September 2000 to assist NATO partner countries in the safe destruction of stockpiled anti-personnel mines and other munitions.
In an earlier Trust Fund Project, 1.6 million landmines were successfully destroyed in Albania, allowing the country to meet its commitments under the 1997 Ottawa Treaty banning anti-personnel landmines.
The current project will see the safe and environmentally friendly destruction of SALW ammunition, in accordance with international norms and standards and will put in place a regional demilitarisation capability at Mjekes, near Elbasan. The estimated project cost, which will be completed by December 2006, is 6.4 million euros.
NAMSA will manage the project. Fifteen NATO and partner nations provide funding, with Canada as lead sponsor; the European Union is also contributing to the project's funding.