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NATO To Transform Military Structure in Bosnia

The multinational brigades within the NATO-led SFOR peacekeeping mission in Bosnia will be renamed Multi National Tas Forces (MNTF), according to a factsheet published on NATO's official website on 27 May.

Each MNTF will comprise approximately 1,800 troops. NATO also announced that SFOR will be reduced to 7,000 troops by June, adding that the reduction "is possible because of the increased role played by the local authorities in providing a secure and safe environment for their citizens."

However, SFOR will "retain the capability to reinforce quickly within [Bosinia-Herzegovina], but NATO Over The Horizon Forces (OTHF) can quickly reinforce Bosnia and Herzegovina," according to the factsheet. SFOR will also introduce so-called Liaison and Observation Teams, small teams of SFOR soldiers that will reside in normal houses in reidential communities and stay in close contact with local authorities, police, and international organizations such as the OSCE.

As regards the EU's plan to take over the command of the peacekeeping mission, the factsheet says a decision is expected to be made at the June NATO summit in Instanbul, adding that "NATO remains committed to Bosnia. A NATO Headquarters, commanded by an American general will be established in Sarajevo at the end of the year."

(RFE/RL 27.v.04)

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