Building bridges on the road to a better future
1Lt. Michele Cortese
First published in
SFOR Informer#153, December 5, 2002
On Nov. 20, a ceremony took place to inaugurate a new
bridge and a road which had been built and handed over to
the municipality of Rogatica (Republika Srpska, RS). This
was made possible due to the efforts of the Italian CIMIC
Unit (ICU) that made the technical plans and managed the work
itself. The European Commission provided the funds.
Kukavice - A new bridge and a new road were inaugurated on
Nov. 20 and handed over to the village of Kukavice, in the
municipality of Rogatica.
The European Commission provided the funds for the implementation
of both these projects, at a sum of 300,000KM. The bridge
is 13.5 m long and the road, 3.5 Km long, links the nearby
villages with the main road.
A bridge of friendship
|The Italian CIMIC Unit
The Italian CIMIC Unit (ICU) was created in 1996 as the
Italian Military Engineer's Nucleus. It consists of a
Task Force made up of twelve engineers, technical/administrative
personnel and translators. The Italians planned and oversaw
the reconstruction of their facilities which were damaged
in the war with assistance from European Union funds as
well as national ones.
Up until now the ICU conducted hundreds of different projects
such as the re-building public facilities, schools, hospitals,
houses, roads and bridges
Over six years, under SFOR guidance, ICU has performed
many important public tasks such as the reconstruction
of the Law faculty in Sarajevo, primary/secondary schools
in Mokro, Olovo, Pale, Podvitez, Rudo, Kalinovik, and
roads in Gorazde and Rogatica.
Those operations were supported by the United Nations
High Commissioner for Refugees' programme for the return
of Displaced Persons and Refugees to their pre-war homes.
These important public works were planned and managed by
the ICU. Local building firms from Srbinje and Pale completed
the construction works, in the scheduled time.
"This is a bridge to enable life to flourish, a bridge
of friendship. By building bridges, we forge relationships
among people. This little bridge can play such a big role,
similar to the more famous one in Visegrad that links two
sides," said Italian Brig. Gen. Guglielmo Zavattaro,
SFOR Assistant Chief of Staff for Support, while inaugurating
"This is a relatively small project for us but this road
and bridge are really important for the municipality of Rogatica
and for the sake of the people who live in the area.
Despite the fact that this territory is part of the RS, most
of the inhabitants of this area are Bosniacs. "We hope
that this construction project will help reconciliation between
the people," said the ICU representative, Lt .Col. Pierluigi
The development of the area
"I'm glad to be a witness to the active involvement of
the European Commission in contributing to the reconstruction
of the country. This is only a small project, but it symbolizes
the reconciliation of the people, and a step forward towards
future co-operation. I thank the Italian CIMIC Unit and the
military and civil authorities who are attending this ceremony.
I hope that we will soon be able to see the results of this
joint common commitment," said E.U. task manager, Dr.
Cedomir Ninkovic, the vice-mayor of Rogatica, thanked all
the participants in the implementation of these two projects
that, as he said, will provide the best possible conditions
for the development of commerce and the economy.
"This road is very important for the municipality of
Rogatica. Roads and bridges have always been a means of connecting
people. I hope that these constructions will create the right
environment for further development in this area," he
said during the ceremony.
Nations of SFOR: Italy