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Defence force personnel return from Bosnia

Thursday 13 April, 2006

Defence force personnel return from Bosnia

After six months in Bosnia, six New Zealand Defence Force personnel will be welcomed home at Palmerston North Airport, 9.25am, Tuesday 18 April.

All personnel returning are from the NZ Army's 16 Field Regiment, based at Linton.

The eight-person Liaison and Observation Team (LOT) makes up part of the NZDF contribution in Bosnia under the European Union Force (EUFOR).

Commander Joint Forces New Zealand, Major General Lou Gardiner praised the achievements of NZDF personnel in Bosnia. "Since the NZ LOT was established in December 2004, successive teams have built on the existing goodwill towards Kiwis and created a strong reputation within EUFOR and the local population. The NZ LOT are frequently used as an example of the LOT concept to high profile visitors and training teams."

The NZ LOT is one of 12 LOT from eight different nations. They meet with local authorities and members of the public to gather information about crime and corruption, to encourage the surrender of illegal weapons and to monitor instances of non-compliance with the provisions of the Dayton Peace Accord.

Their continued presence and interaction with the local population enables local authorities to lead in providing a safe and secure environment, but provides EUFOR with the situational awareness to support them if necessary.

439 NZDF personnel are currently deployed on peacekeeping operations, UN missions and defence diplomacy activities in 14 countries worldwide.

ENDS

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