Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

March 29, 2010 11:20 ET

After 19 Years, Canadian Forces to Leave Bosnia-Herzegovina

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 29, 2010) - The Government of Canada has announced the end of Canadian Forces (CF) deployments in Bosnia-Herzegovina with the close-out of Operation BRONZE and the return of the deployed team, Task Force Balkans, to Canada. The last of a long series of missions in the central Balkan nation, Operation BRONZE began in 2004. For the last year, Task Force Balkans has comprised five officers and one non-commissioned member serving at NATO Headquarters in Sarajevo.

"This is a proud day for both Canada and Bosnia-Herzegovina," said the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence. "Over the last two decades, Canadians have worked with the government of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and our UN and NATO partners, to secure a brighter future for the people of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Canada and the CF can be proud of having helped make Bosnia-Herzegovina a safer and more stable place."

"What dramatic changes Canadians have seen in Bosnia-Herzegovina over the last twenty years," said General Walter Natynczyk, Chief of the Defence Staff. "When Canadians first deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina, we were helping secure peace and stability in their nation. Now members of the Bosnian armed forces are serving as part of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan."

The primary focus of Operation BRONZE was defence reform, especially to facilitate the re-integration of veterans of the Balkan wars into civil society, and the entry of Bosnia-Herzegovina into NATO's Partnership for Peace program. Since September 1991, more than 40,000 members of the Canadian Forces have served in the Balkan region in a variety of missions and roles. Over the years, 23 Canadian Forces members lost their lives while serving in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Canada still has a military presence in the Balkan region with Operation KOBOLD (Task Force Pristina), which comprises five senior officers of the Canadian Forces serving with the NATO mission supporting the Kosovo Security Force.

Notes to editors:

For more information about Operation BRONZE, visit the website of Canadian Expeditionary Force Command at http://www.cefcom-comfec.forces.gc.ca/pa-ap/ops/bronze/index-eng.asp.

For imagery from Operation BRONZE, visit the Canadian Forces Combat Camera website at http://www.combatcamera.forces.gc.ca/site/home-eng.asp and search for "Op BRONZE."

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