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Demilitarization of surplus ordnance

Kragujevac, 12 October 2016 - In the Technical Overhaul Facility in Kragujevac, Project of demilitarization of surplus ordnance and improving the capacity of TRZ Kragujevac under the auspices of the NATO Trust Fund has been officially opened.

The ceremony was attended by Defence Minister Zoran Djordjevic and his associates, NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy James Appathurai, ambassadors of donor countries and representatives of the NATO Support and Procurement Agency which is implementing the project.  

Thanking to the guests and donors on the funds invested, Minister of Defence Zoran Djordjevic pointed out that the start of the project meant the fulfilment of a large number of preconditions that have demonstrated capability of the capacities of the Serbian Armed Forces and the Technical Overhaul Facility for disassembly and destruction of surplus ammunition, which, above all, ensures increased security of the citizens of Serbia.

- The project was formally launched back in July 2013 when fund raising for the execution of this important task started, and it was completed by recent signing of the legal framework for its implementation. Creating conditions for the safe storage of surplus ammunition is one of the priorities of the Ministry of Defence and the Serbian Armed Forces. Over the last ten years, additional efforts were made in the construction and modernization of infrastructure and destruction of surplus ordnance which were recognized as a major security problem and risk. That showed the commitment of the Republic of Serbia not to repeat the accident that occurred ten years ago in Paracin. Our primary goal is to increase the efficiency of the inventory management and reduce the risk of harmful impacts on the environment. The problem of surplus ordnance was primarily solved by own efforts using also the available mechanisms of international assistance. One of the mechanisms that have enabled the achievement of significant results in this field was the co-operation under the auspices of the NATO Trust Fund, Minister Djordjevic said, among other things.

The Republic of Serbia has so far used the mechanisms of NATO Trust Fund for the mentioned purposes on two occasions: in 2003, in the project of solving the surplus small arms and light weapons, and in the period from 2005 to 2007, in the project of destruction of anti-personnel mines.

- Activities of the Trust Fund provided the necessary support for raising the missing funds for the realization of this important project, all that with the aim for the tasks to be carried out in accordance with the latest safety and environmental standards. The implementation of this project will contribute to raising the capacity of the Technical Overhaul Facility, which will further influence the positioning of the Facility as a centre for the disassembly of ammunition in the region. I am convinced that Serbia, together with its partners on the project, will successfully execute this important task, Minister Djordjevic said.

Those present were addressed by NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy, James Appathurai, who pointed out that the previous cooperation of the Serbian Armed Forces with the Trust Fund clearly showed that it understood the great importance of safe destruction of surplus ammunition.

- Serbia, like other countries in the region, had the opportunity to realize the danger that comes from ammunition and explosives that are unsafely stored. This institution will contribute with its activities to destroying surplus ammunition in a safe manner, thereby increasing the safety of all citizens. This is also another opportunity to consider all forms of cooperation between Serbia and NATO, James Appathurai said.

The project "The demilitarization of surplus ordnance through the NATO Trust Fund" was initiated by the Ministry of Defence at the end of 2011, and the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) was assigned the responsibility for implementation of the project. In September 2015, the Agreement on the provision of logistic services between the Government of the Republic of Serbia and NATO Support and Procurement Organisation (NSPO) was signed and, at the end of February 2016, it was ratified in the Serbian Parliament. This agreement covers a broader aspect of cooperation within the field of logistics, and one of its segments is related to cooperation in the framework of the trust funds. In accordance with the Agreement on the implementation of the demilitarization project in March 2016, the Implementation Agreement between the Ministry of Defence and the NSPA was signed.

The anticipated duration of the project is two years, and it will be implemented in phases in the Technical Repair Facility in Kragujevac. By implementation of the project it was planned to destroy the remaining surplus ordnance which currently amounts to about 784 tons. Funding for the implementation of project is estimated at about 3.4 million and will be spent on disassembly of ordnance, improving the capacity of TRZ Kragujevac for the safe implementation of the project, as well as administrative costs of NSPA.

Donor countries within the framework of realization of the project so far are: USA, UK, Switzerland, Italy, West Germany, Ireland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Norway, Turkey and Slovakia. The total so far collected donations amount to about 1.6 million. The realization of the project is planned and the contribution of the Republic of Serbia in the volume up to 450,000 euros for financing the work TRZ Kragujevac. In parallel with the process of demilitarization, with the aim of creating the conditions for improving the capacity of TRZ Kragujevac, procurement of equipment and tools, ambulance and a fire-fighting vehicle, integral transport means, as well as personnel training will be carried out. Through the realisation of this project, additional prerequisites for positioning TRZ Kragujevac as a regional centre for demilitarization of ammunition are created.

Today's ceremony represents evidence of the willingness and openness of the Republic of Serbia for cooperation and development of good relations with partner countries and organizations, aimed at the minimization of security risks and promotion of the regional stability. In this regard, the donation of an ambulance and a forklifts by the NATO Support and Procurement Agency, handed over in the Technical Repair Facility.

On behalf of the donor countries, the participants were addressed by the ambassadors of the United Kingdom – Denis Keefe, USA – Kyle Scott and Italy – Giuseppe Manzo, as well as a representative of NATO Support and Procurement Organization, Orhan Muratli, Deputy Director for Logistics Operations.


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