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The Spaniards withdraw from Bosnia and Herzegovina

Carme reviewing (Credit: Spanish Ministry of Defence)

It's done ! After 18 years of presence in Bosnia, the Spaniards are packing up. Spanish Defense Minister Carme Chacon was today at Camp Butmir, an air base near Sarajevo and headquarters of the European peacekeeping operation EUFOR Althea, to preside over ceremonies to begin the withdrawal of the Spanish contingent .

Arriving in 1992, in a region ravaged by war, the Spaniards (like the French and some other European forces) sewed almost all the badges on their uniforms: that of the UN with UNPROFOR, of the WEU with Mostar in particular, of NATO (IFOR and SFOR), and finally that of the European Union with EUFOR Althea. “ It is the longest mission carried out by the Spanish armed forces » mentioned the minister who also paid tribute to the 23 Spaniards (22 soldiers and an interpreter) who died during this mission. With the departure of the Spaniards, there remained essentially only troops from central and eastern Europe… and Turkey. The Althea workforce must form part of a team of maximum 350 people who will have a non-executive mission (1). A reduction in force that Spain ardently defended. And which follows that of Kosovo (2).

Credit: Spanish Ministry of Defense

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Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).