On Monday, November 20, Minister of National Defence, Angel Tîlvăr, and the Chief of Defence Staff, General Daniel Petrescu, met, in Camp Butmir in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, with the Romanian soldiers participating in the European Union EUFOR ALTHEA Mission.
The MoND leadership's program included meetings with the commander of the EU force from this theater of operations, Major General Helmut Habermayer, and with the commander of the NATO Headquarters Sarajevo, Brigadier General Pamela McGaha. The discussions focused on the security situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the future perspectives regarding the presence of the Romanian troops within NATO KFOR and EUFOR ALTHEA.
"The stability of the Western Balkans region remains a priority for Romania, being of strategic importance for the Euro-Atlantic security. Romania's operational involvement in this region, both within the NATO KFOR mission and within the EU EUFOR ALTHEA Mission, is proof of our firm commitment in the Balkans", the defence minister reiterated during the official talks.
Minister Tîlvăr emphasized our country's important contribution with military personnel and equipment to ensuring a safe and stable security environment in Bosnia and Herzegovina, including through the recent deployment of an infantry company from the intermediate reserve force, requested by the Commander of EUFOR Operation.
"Romania is one of the main contributors to EUFOR ALTHEA, having over 400 soldiers deployed to the theater. We remain firmly engaged in this operation, which has a key role in supporting the local authorities in maintaining a stable and safe environment", Angel Tîlvăr said.
General Daniel Petrescu highlighted the contribution of the armed forces to meeting the commitments assumed by our country in order to preserve a climate of stability in the Balkans, both by participating in the NATO and EU missions and operations, and by maintaining the professional standards that our allies and partners have been used to. "In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Romanian soldiers represent one of the longest presence in the international security effort and one of the most visible presence of the European Union force in this state. The exemplary way in which our soldiers carry out their foreign missions is further reflected in the credibility gained by the EU in the theater of operations from Bosnia and Herzegovina", the Chief of Defence Staff stated.
In the second part of the visit, the MoND leadership met with Romanian soldiers deployed to the EUFOR ALTHEA force structure.
Minister Angel Tîlvăr emphasized that the recent deployment of two reserve infantry companies to Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina represents a concrete proof of Romania's consistency in meeting its security commitments in the Western Balkans.
Angel Tîlvăr asked the soldiers to remain focused on accomplishing their assigned tasks and to always consider their own safety and that of their comrades they work with.
"Through professionalism, dedication and patriotism, soldiers like you place the armed forces at the top of the trust that Romanians have in the state institutions. What you do in the theaters of operations makes us proud and confident that the missions you have to accomplish will be successful. Equally, I wish you a safe return home. I also express my deep respect for your families at home, who give you the strength to dedicate to an extremely difficult job. I am convinced that you will overcome any challenge, but do not hesitate to ask your commanders' support as well as ours, whenever you feel you need it," the minister said.
In his turn, General Daniel Petrescu commended the professional commitment of the Romanian military personnel deployed to this theater of operations. "The reports you send confirm, on a current basis, that the Romanian Armed Force is excellently represented in this international mission as well. We participate here with maneuver, staff, support and intelligence structures, as well as liaison personnel and a distinct national element of logistic support. It is a complex and integrated military effort that significantly contributes to the achievement of the goals of EUFOR ALTHEA in Bosnia and Herzegovina," the Chief of Defence Staff stated.
General Petrescu also emphasized the fact that, through the increased level of manpower deployed to the theaters of operations, Romania demonstrates that it meets its commitments in the field of security.
"We contribute to all EU-led assistance and training missions, being in command of such an operation in the Central African Republic, and having an increased level of contribution in the Western Balkans. The simultaneous deployment of two reserve companies to Kosovo and Bosnia, totaling nearly 300 troops, on time and to the standards set out in the activation documents, is a major success for our armed force, proving the maturity of our military operations' planning and conduct system", General Petrescu pointed out.
At the end, as a sign of appreciation for the accomplishment of the assigned missions, Minister Angel Tîlvăr and General Daniel Petrescu offered honorary and merit emblems to several soldiers.
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EU EUFOR ALTHEA Operation of the European Union in Bosnia and Herzegovina was launched in December 2004, based on the UN Security Council Mandate (UN Resolution No. 1575/2004). The mission succeeds the SFOR and IFOR operations, carried out under NATO command. Since 2012, EUFOR ALTHEA has focused on training and building the capacity of Bosnia and Herzegovina's Armed Forces. Currently, 22 countries participate in EUFOR ALTHEA Operation: Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Chile, The Czech Republic, Switzerland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, North Macedonia, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey and Hungary.
Since May, the Chief of Staff position of EUFOR ALTHEA has been manned by Brigadier General Ovidiu Lungu.
Romania's contribution to EUFOR ALTHEA Operation reflects both the consolidation of the commitment assumed within the European Union and the NATO-EU partnership, representing, at the same time, an element that helps maintaining security and stability in the region.