By Cpl. Jean-Philippe Lavigne
First published in
SFOR Informer#120, August 22, 2001
One of the European Unions conditions for
Bosnia and Herzegovina to be a member of the EU is a unified army
in BiH. It is also necessary for entering NATOs Partnership
for Peace (PfP). Aug. 8, the Joint Military Commission (JMC) met
in Doboj to discuss such topics in MND-North.
Doboj - Created in 1994 by North Atlantic Council
(NAC), PfP is the framework for practical security co-operation
between 19 NATO countries and 27 non-NATO European countries.
It is generally considered as the final step before entering NATO.
The last country that signed the PfP is Croatia in May 2000.
When NATO Secretary General visited Sarajevo on July. 13, Bosnia
and Herzegovinas tri-partite presidency announced its wish
to join Partnership for Peace. But reducing and ensuring the transparency
of defence budgets in both entities of BiH, consolidating democratic
control over the armed forces, encouraging political demilitarisation,
and restructuring the Armed Forces in BiH, is absolutely essential.
Military Commission in MND-N dealt this month with such topics.
Col. Franciszek Kochanowski, Nordic-Polish Battle Group (NPBG)
Commander, assisted by JMC officers, Capt Palle Knudsen and Capt
Janusz Przeor chaired it. Representatives from Armed Forces in
BiH attended. The commission discussed policy - and security -
related issues to improve co-operation and confidence between
the armies of the two Entities. It was also the opportunity to
assess the situation: CIMIC projects, Harvest operation, demilitarisation
and demobilisation of the soldiers.
Armed Forces in BiH cost too much and people cant
afford it, explained Knudsen. The money used for the
soldiers income is too important and has to be cut.
However important efforts are made to reduce the armies. Some
34,000 soldiers are still in activity in BiH, but the International
Community expects this number to be reduced to 20,000 in 2005.
In MND-N, 6,000 soldiers were demobilised. The problem for them
is to restart a civilian life in spite of the high level of unemployment.
Some 2,000 former soldiers are jobless.
The World Bank has launched a countrywide Emergency Demobilisation
and Re-integration Programme, that lends money to societies
employing demobilised soldiers. Already 102 companies have contracts
(60 in Federation, 42 in RS); 165 additional projects in Federation
and 33 in RS are under consideration.
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