The U.S. Department of State invested $12.6 million of Fiscal Year 2012 funds in support for Conventional Weapons Destruction programs in South East Europe to help promote that region’s peace and security by reducing its Cold War-era stocks of excess arms and deteriorating munitions. The funds will also help to save lives and protect communities by safely clearing landmines and unexploded ordnance left behind from the conflicts in the Balkans region during the 1990s.
ITF Enhancing Human Security, a non-governmental organization that has been the main implementing partner in the Balkans for the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, received almost $10.4 million to clear landmines and unexploded ordnance in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, and Serbia; provide technical training to Kosovo’s Mine Action Center; oversee separate stockpile destruction projects in Albania, Bosnia, Croatia, and Montenegro; and provide administrative support to the Regional Approach to Stockpile Reduction (RASR) initiative. This funding has also enabled the successful completion of clearance of unexploded ordnance following the accidental explosion at the Chelopechene munitions depot in Bulgaria, and supports ongoing clearance of unexploded ordnance at a munitions depot that blew up in Gerdec, Albania in 2008.
The NATO Support Agency received $2 million dollars in support of continued technical oversight and capital upgrades to the ULP Mjekes plant in Albania where tons of the country’s excess and unstable munitions dating to the Cold War are being safely demilitarized.
Sterling International received $160,000 to procure and deliver three 4x4-capable Ford Ranger pickup trucks to Kosovo’s Mine Action Center, allowing its personnel to reach remote minefields and battle area clearance sites to perform quality assurance and certification.
The Department of State also contributed $100,000 to support “Dolphin 2012,” a U.S. Navy Marine Mammal deployment to Montenegro that trained Montenegrin, Croatian, and Slovenian divers to safely locate, clear, and survey underwater unexploded ordnance in the Bay of Kotor.
The United States is the world’s single largest financial supporter of Conventional Weapons Destruction. Since 1993, the Department of State has partnered with the Department of Defense, USAID’s Leahy War Victims Fund, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to promote peace and security by delivering more than $2 billion in such assistance in more than 90 countries. To learn more about our Conventional Weapons Destruction efforts, visit www.state.gov/t/pm/wra.