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EU Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina

December 1, 2004

The EU will on Thursday embark on its largest military mission to date, sending 7,000 peacekeeping troops to Bosnia and Herzegovina.


The EU will on Thursday take over from NATO in Bosnia and Herzegovina, its most ambitious military mission to date. Code-named Althea, the mission will see 7,000 troops deployed under EU command, in a bid to ensure stability in the country. "This is a large step...large and complex," Operational Commander John Reith said on Tuesday. But the likelihood of the EU having to face the same ethnic conflict which prompted NATO to deploy 60,000 in the early 1990's is unlikely, say officials. "The entities neither have the capabilities nor the will to go back to conflict," Commander Reith said. But security threats remain with weapons smuggling, extremist religious groups and border security all being major problems. Dr. Gerrard Quille, of the Executive Director of the International Security Information Service (ISIS) Europe, explains how the complex strictures for NATO and EU cooperation could be the biggest test. "The main challenge is the successful and peaceful transfer from EU to NATO, even if the same number of troops will be on the ground." The mission is expected to cost 71 million euro.(EUObserver.com)