By 1st Lt. Luis Sanchez
First published in
SFOR Informer#115, June 13, 2001
As stated in the General Framework Agreement
for Peace (GFAP), Annex 8, SFOR troops are ready to provide support
to international organisations and local authorities also in all
matters related to national monuments.
Stolac A soft force has been deployed on the outskirts
of Stolac, a village south-east of Mostar. This time its mission
differs from patrolling and monitoring; but not less important,
its task today is to support local authorities and International
Police Task Force (IPTF) as needed.
Stolac is located in the area of responsibility of the Spanish
Battle Group, Multinational Division - Southeast (MND-SE). That's
why these forces are carrying out this task; it helps the local
police and IPTF in their duty of maintaining law and order. A
company-size unit has been prepared, in reference to the GFAP,
Annex 8, agreement on commission to preserve national monuments.
The subject in dispute was the ruins of a mosque, known as Emperor's
Mosque, that is believed to have been constructed by the Ottoman
Empire over a Christian Temple; the site is on the list of National
Monuments in BiH.
Colin Munro, regional representative of the high representative,
chaired a meeting with local authorities at the office of OHR
(south) June 1. Dr. Zdravko Kuzman, mayor of Stolac, Hadzi Seid
ef. Smajkic, Mostar Mufti, Don Rajko Markovic from the Stolac
Parish, Brig. Gen. Castro, deputy commander of MND-SE, Col. Roland
Sinteff, regional commander of the IPTF and Javier Fernandez,
special envoy of the high representative for Stolac were present.
Participants welcomed the construction of a fence on this site,
with a sign wearing the appropriate inscription, in order to ban
any work except that authorised by the GFAP.
Today, a wooden fence has already been erected and in front of
it people can see a sign explaining the reason (GFAP, Annex 8),
trespassing is forbidden and the Spanish troops are in charge
of the implementation of the decision.
Several BMR (a Spanish-made APC) and cars were deployed along
the road, not in an intimidating way, but quite the opposite to
create a safe and secure environment. Spanish soldiers from the
11th Infantry Brigade remain all day, without impatience, standing
ready to deal with any eventuality. All the equipment has been
checked; one Squadron is located in the entry to the village,
the other on the exit. The atmosphere is calm; people are friendly
and salute the cavalrymen; they know that they are there to assist
Slowly, the sun is setting, normality is the best news, the coy
moves on leaving the zone towards the Spanish Camp, leaving behind
them Stolac, a nice place. For all of them the mission has been
accomplished in the best way: the proof is they had "nothing
significant to report."
Nations of SFOR: Spain
SFOR at Work