By Mr. Thierry Domin
First published in
SFOR Informer#117, July 11, 2001
To prepare such an operation is not easy. That's
why, as soon as this trip was decided and its date established,
a working group was formed to deal with all the practical considerations:
who to invite, which returnee sites will be visited, what the
schedule will be, what kind of documentation will be provided
to the ambassadors, and plenty of other questions they discovered
as they went along.
This working group was comprised of four persons: Stephan Annighoefer
(Office of the High Representative, OHR), Finnish Lt. Col. Kimmo
Salomaa (SFOR, Joint Visitor's Bureau), French Lt. Col. Didier
Debray (SFOR, CJ 9), later replaced by German Major Karl - Ludwig
Puhl, and French Navy Lt. Cdr. Frédéric Crété
(military adviser to the United Nations High Commissioner for
Refugees chief of mission, UNHCR).
|What the steering group's members said
Finnish Lt. Col. Kimmo Salomaa (SFOR Joint Visitors
Bureau). 1st left
"On behalf of JVB, I hope that we will be able to provide
a good and informative event for the ambassadors. This tour
is a very important one for BiH; there is no doubt about it.
The results of the previous tour show it."
German Maj. Karl-Ludwig Puhl (SFOR CJ9). 2nd left
"Hopefully we'll get donor's assistance: it's still imperative
for the situation in this country"
French Lt. Cmdr. Frédéric Crété
(military advisor to the UNHCR chief of mission). 2nd right
"I expect a large amount of funding after the fourth
Stephan Annighoefer (OHR). 1st right
"This tour is the last chance for all responsible authorities
to get an actual picture of "life in the field."
I hope that after the ambassadors' visit the funding for the
Reconstruction and Return Task Force (RRTF) will significantly
increase for the better for the people of BiH.".
The first step was, of course, the selection of
the sites to be visited, with many considerations to be taken
into account: entity and ethnic balance of the selected sites,
the possibility of helicopters landing and taking off in the vicinity,
proximity and accessibility to the site for a long convoy, overall
security, existence of mine fields
It has not been easy
to combine all the constraints of this kind.
Once the heads of the three organisations involved (OHR, SFOR
and UNHCR) approved the six sites, it was time to go into details.
Accurate time schedules, the issue of a Fragmental Order (FRAGO)
to the three multinational divisions, co-ordination with HELIOPS
for the air journeys, reconnaissance of the ground itineraries,
preparation of the visit to the sites with involvement of the
representatives of the returnees, and so on. The simpler the trip
looked, the more the working group tried to foresee the unforeseeable.
SFOR Informer's special envoys took part in the three trips, following
the ambassadors and the associated international community. Their
reports appear in the three next pages.
Related links: Humanitarian
Aid, SFOR at