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NZ extends Bosnia commitment

Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Defence


1 February 2006
Media statement

NZ extends Bosnia commitment


New Zealand will extend its deployment of Defence Force staff officers serving in Bosnia and Herzegovina for another 14 months from March 1, Defence Minister Phil Goff said today.

"New Zealand currently has a Liaison and Observation Team of up to ten personnel, and three staff officers serving alongside British counterparts as part of the European Union-led EUFOR mission," said Mr Goff, who made the announcement after meeting British Defence Secretary John Reid in London.

"The extension of the staff officers' deployment will bring it into line with the LOT, which is already committed through until April 30 next year.

"The LOT undertakes a range of duties including surveillance, security assessments, observation duties, and liaison with inter-governmental and Non-Governmental Organisations.

"New Zealand has had a longstanding commitment to peacekeeping in Bosnia since 1992. We made substantial contributions to UNPROFOR, particularly at the height of the crisis when we committed a 250-strong company group, and the subsequent NATO-led Stabilisation Force.

"Our deployments in Bosnia have been of considerable value to the Defence Force. Personnel have enjoyed the challenge of their work there, while the years of operating alongside the British have been of considerable value in further strengthening links between the two forces," Mr Goff said.

The EU took over leadership of the Bosnia mission from NATO in December 2004. It currently has 7000 troops deployed there to ensure compliance with the Dayton Agreement and to maintain peace and security. Troops from 11 non-EU countries (including New Zealand, Switzerland and Turkey) are serving alongside personnel from 22 EU member states.

ENDS

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