Built with the help of SFOR, blessed by the pope

Lt. Antonio Ruiz González
First published in
SFOR Informer#146, August 29, 2002

Berkovici is almost a new town. It was a small village before the war. After the conflict the Bosnian-Serb population has increased, the majority from Stolac and the surrounding area. The town is just a few kilometres from the Inter-Entity Boundary Line (IEBL) inside Republika Srpska (RS). With the growth of population they were in need of more facilities. International Community donors made this possible by funding the reconstruction of a new electrical grid and water utility. The school obtained a new roof in 1999 and last week they inaugurated a new public health medical centre. The Civil-Military Co-operation (CIMIC) team of the Spanish Battle Group (SPBG) carried out the project. Furthermore, the Spanish Agency for International Co-operation provided most of the funds. The official party for the event consisted of Col. Blas Piñar Gutierrez, SPBG Commander, Luis Moratinos Cuyanbé, from the Spanish Embassy, as well as RS and local authorities.
The municipality was awarded a prize last year as a result of its tolerance with the other ethnic groups, such as Bosniacs. However, religion has a powerful influence on the town's population. During the opening of the medical centre, the popes, who are members of the Orthodox Church, were praying for Berkovici's health. They prayed for every man, woman and child in the city.

Related links:
Nations of SFOR: Spain
CIMIC

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Photo: Sgt. Diego Ropero Pastor