EUFOR confirms it monitored police exercise of BiH's RS entity “as per mandate”

NEWS 22.10.2021 20:11
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Source: N1

EUFOR confirmed for N1 that it monitored the tactical exercise conducted by the Interior Ministry of Bosnia’s Republika Srpska (RS) entity, explaining that “EUFOR monitors any activities or locations within BiH for Situational Awareness and/or to ensure that the Safe and Secure Environment is not threatened in any way, as per the mandate.”

Special police units of Bosnia's Republika Srpska (RS) entity held an anti-terrorist exercise on mount Jahorina, near Sarajevo, during which EUFOR planes flew over the compound. EUFOR also monitored an RS gendarmerie unit exercise to respond to migrant snuggling conducted in the western BiH town of Mrkonjic Grad.

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EUFOR clarified for N1 that the exercise was not filmed, only monitored.

RS Interior Minister, Dragan Lukac, criticised the activities of EUFOR.

“You’ve had the opportunity to see a EUFOR plane appear, flying over five or six times. For that reason, we did not lift another helicopter so as not to create an incident. They had no need for that given that EUFOR representatives are here. We’re absolutely not hiding anything and everything they could see from the air was visible here from the ground,” Lukac said.

EUFOR said that their activities were not incorrect as “EUFOR has complete and unimpeded freedom of movement by ground, air and water throughout BiH.”

“The airspace in the RS exercise areas is class ‘G’ which is uncontrolled airspace. Therefore EUFORs aircraft being present did not stop a second RS aircraft from taking off and applying ‘see and avoid’ rules as per the airspace classification,” the EUFOR HQ Public Affairs Office said.

EUFOR did have an observer on the ground, but “this was seen as insufficient to see the full scale of the exercise so EUFOR aviation was also tasked to monitor the exercise.”

“EUFOR monitors any activities or locations within BiH for Situational Awareness and/or to ensure that the Safe and Secure Environment is not threatened in any way, as per the mandate. It makes no difference if the exercise was within RS or elsewhere in BiH,” it added.

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