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NZ troops return home after six months in Bosnia

Thursday October 28, 2004

NZ troops return home after six months in Bosnia

Ten NZ soldiers are returning home after six months in Bosnia-Herzegovina where they have worked as a Liaison and Observation Team (LOT) attached to the Stabilisation Force (SFOR).

Living as part of the community in Mrkonjic Grad the soldiers collected information from local sources and provided them to SFOR to assist with gaining a current and relevant picture of the area of operations. Living independently in the community their roles ranged from conducting patrols to attending festivals and events, liaison with local authorities and meetings with mayors and police. They reported on ethnic tensions, crime and corruption and on specific information tasks.

The LOT will arrive at Palmerston North Airport at 9:25 am on Saturday October 30,2004 and will be met by the Land Component Commander, Brigadier Warren Whiting, Commanding Officer 16 Field Regiment Lieutenant Colonel Michael Baker and representatives from Linton Army Camp. Ends For further information please contact the Defence Press Officer, Commander Sandra McKie, RNZN, Ph: (04) 4960299

FACT SHEET FOR NZ IN BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA On 14 December 1995 the General Framework Agreement for Peace (GFAP) was signed in Paris, after it had been negotiated in Dayton, Ohio. On 16 December the Alliance's North Atlantic Council launched the largest military operation ever under taken by the Alliance, Operation Joint Endeavour. Based on UN Security Council Resolution 1031, NATO was given the mandate to implement the military aspects of the Peace Agreement. A NATO-led multinational force, called the Implementation Force (IFOR), started its mission on 20 December 1995. The role of IFOR (Operation Joint Endeavour) was to implement the peace. The role of SFOR is to stabiles the peace. The difference between task of IFOR and SFOR is reflected in their names. Under UN Security Resolution 1088 of 12 December 1996, SFOR was authorised to implement the military aspects necessary for consolidating the peace. Specific tasks were: To deter or prevent a resumption of hostilities or new threats to peace. To promote a climate in which the peace process can continue to move forward.

To promote selective support to civilian organisations within its capabilities. By special agreement with UK: New Zealand and Australia (Non NATO countries) have been incorporated into the operation on the same basis as NATO forces, taking orders from SFOR Command. Non-NATO countries are represented by liaison officers and have been involved in planning operations. New Zealand Commitment to Bosnia-Herzegovina In 1991 NZ contributed military observers to the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) in the former Yugoslavia.

In 1994 NZ deployed an infantry-company group of 250 personnel to Bosnia from March 1994 to January 1996, at that time it was the Army's largest operational deployment since the Vietnam War. Operation STANDARD contributes six staff officers to the NATO-led Stabilisation Force (SFOR), which is implementing the peace agreement in Bosnia. This will change for the next rotation from six pers to three. Operation FORD provides an additional contribution of 20 Army personnel to British forces in SFOR. Operation FORD II is in response to the downscaling of the presence in Bosnia.

NZ provided a ten-person LOT team. This Team was based in Mrkonjic Grad and is made up of personnel from 16 Fd Regt based in Linton. The NZer's (LOT) lived not in military camp, but in civilian accommodation among local population providing dynamic, responsive and locally based 'public face' of SFOR. The purpose of the LOT is to be more accessible to citizens and authorities, who want to make a better Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Since the LOTs has been operating, good co-operation has developed at all levels.

Their continues presence and the sense of attention towards the local population enables local authorities to lead in providing a safe and secure environment, but provides SFOR with the situational awareness to support them if necessary. Cabinet approvals for further contributions to these missions are to be reviewed in December 2004.

The information contained in this Internet Email message is intended for the addressee only and may contain privileged information, but not necessarily the official views or opinions of the New Zealand Defence Force. If you are not the intended recipient you must not use, disclose, copy or distribute this message or the information in it.

ENDS

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