Netherlands funds ammunition destruction project in BiH

Netherlands will contribute additional 245,000 U.S. dollars to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) for the destruction of unstable ammunition stocks in the country, the embassy of the Netherlands in BiH said in a statement on Monday.

The agreement signed between Reinout Vos, ambassador of the Netherlands to BiH, and Sezin Sinanoglu, resident representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to BiH, emphasized the continuation of Project EXPLODE+, which aims at disarmament for a safer BiH.

After the signing ceremony, Vos emphasized that signatories are committed to destroying of 2,000 kilograms of unstable ammunition over a period of 12 months.

“This project will bring great benefits in terms of reduction of surplus weapons, and will also bring benefits for 14 local communities in creating a more secure environment,” Vos noted, adding that the Netherlands has been supporting BiH for the fourth year in a row.

Vos emphasized that the project will also contribute to the process of BiH’s accession to the European Union (EU), and to the reduction of illegal ammunition trade.

For her part, Sinanoglu said the ammunition left after the war is a problem that has been present in BiH for decades.

“There are remains of ammunition from various wars, even some ammunition dates back to 1960, which is a security risk for the population and for the military personnel using such ammunition,” Sinanoglu said.

She added that the focus of this project is not only to destroy surplus ammunition but also to enhance the technical knowledge.

Currently, EU STAR project to the tune of 2.8 million euros (3.1 million U.S. dollars), implemented by UNDP in partnership with the BiH Ministry of Defense, and Project EXPLODE+, co-financed by the funds provided by the governments of the Germany, Netherlands and Norway, are two main projects that handle destruction of unstable ammunition in BiH.

Due to the 1990s war, BiH has a large stock of excess weapons and ammunition. In BiH, there are still about 15,000 tons of ammunition stock and 40,000 pieces of weapons, mostly over 35 years old.

Approximately 14,600 tons of ammunition have been destroyed in the past ten years in BiH.

(Source: Xinhua, photo Fena, Hazim Aljovic)

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