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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

2012 To Walk the Earth in Safety: Europe


Report
Bureau of Political-Military Affairs
July 1, 2012

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Date: 2012 Description: Total U.S. Conventional Weapons Destruction Funding In Europe From All Sources, 1993-2011: $302,745,000. This chart shows the percentage of total funding allocated to each country within the region. - State Dept Image
Total U.S. Conventional Weapons Destruction Funding In Europe From All Sources, 1993-2011: $302,745,000. This chart shows the percentage of total funding allocated to each country within the region. Click for larger size.

Europe is the second smallest continent and contains just over one-tenth of the world’s population. Starting with the economic cooperation among six countries after World War II, the European Union now includes 27 nations. Founded in 1949, NATO includes 28 member states of which 26 are European. Since the break-up of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia in the 1990s, Eastern Europe has undergone extensive transitions. Explosive remnants of war, as well as stockpiles of arms and aging munitions dating back to WWII, the Cold War, and the Yugoslavian conflict, remain the focus of destruction and clearance efforts. Now largely “mine-impact free” as a result of U.S. and international assistance, these efforts focus on minimizing illicit arms proliferation and removing threats to civilians living near military depots, several of which exploded with catastrophic consequences in recent years. With NATO support, the largest arms destruction project in history continues apace in Ukraine. Landmine and explosive remnants of war clearance continues in some countries in the Balkans and Baltics. In November 2011, the Abkhaz region of Georgia declared itself “mine-free.”

Albania

From the end of World War II until his death in 1985, Enver Hoxha’s regime in Albania manufactured and imported vast quantities of arms and munitions that were stockpiled, often in poorly built structures, around the country. In the government transitions of the late 1990s, widespread looting of military depots resulted in the proliferation of small arms and light weapons (SA/LW) and abandoned ordnance throughout the country. Additionally, along its border with Kosovo, Albania faced contamination from landmines and explosive remnants of war generated by the armed forces of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia during the Kosovo crisis in 1998–1999. Made possible in large part by U.S. support channeled through the Slovenia-based ITF Enhancing Human Security (formerly the International Trust Fund for Demining and Mine Victims Assistance) and coordination by the Albanian Mine and Munitions Coordination Office (formerly the Office Albanian Mine Action Executive), Albania declared itself mine free in October 2009.

Date: 2012 Description: John Stevens from PM/WRA visits an Ammunition Hot Spot in Albania funded by PM/WRA through a grant to the ITF Enhancing Human Security (ITF). ITF contracted the task to Sterling International, which sub-contracted the clearance to DanChurchAid.  - State Dept Image
John Stevens from PM/WRA visits an Ammunition Hot Spot in Albania funded by PM/WRA through a grant to the ITF Enhancing Human Security (ITF). ITF contracted the task to Sterling International, which sub-contracted the clearance to DanChurchAid. Photo courtesy of John Stevens, PM/WRA, U.S. Dept. of State.

In FY2011, the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs (PM/WRA) granted $5,677,151 to ITF and to NATO Support Agency (NSPA, formerly NATO Maintenance and Supply, or NAMSA). A portion of these funds was used to conduct clearance at two of Albania’s 19 unexploded ordnance (UXO) Hot Spots, former Albanian artillery ranges and UXO disposal sites that now pose a hazard to civilians living in proximity to them. ITF worked with its implementing partners Sterling International and Dan-ChurchAid to make these two Hot Spots safer. Funding was also granted to ITF to continue searching for and clearing UXO (much of it buried deep in the ground) remaining from the 2008 massive explosion at the Gerdec munitions-handling site where many Albanians were killed or injured. ArmorGroup North America began this clean-up task in 2008 under a PM/WRA contract, awarding subcontracts to Sterling International in partnership with EOD Solutions. When ITF assumed the task in 2011, it elected to retain Sterling International’s and EOD Solutions’ proven expertise at the site. U.S. Government-supplied equipment from previous work by ArmorGroup North America was transferred to ITF to complete these projects.

PM/WRA also funded NSPA to continue its work for a second year helping the Albanian government’s Uzina e Lendeve Plases Mjekes (ULP Mjekes) factory to manage, modernize, demilitarize, and as necessary, destroy excess and aging munitions. This second year of the project resulted in the destruction of 3,597 tons of 120-millimeter mortar shells, anti-vehicle mines, 122-millimeter artillery shells, and 14.5-millimeter small arms ammunition rounds. If PM/WRA can sustain its current level of annual funding for two more years, a total of 16,000 tons of excess Albanian munitions will be destroyed, and the Albanian people will be considerably safer as a result.

At the request of the U.S. Embassy in Tirana and through coordination with PM/WRA, the Small Arms Light Weapons Program of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) conducted a physical security and stockpile management (PSSM) assessment and a technical level seminar in Albania in February 2011. During the assessment, the team provided recommendations at five ammunition depots concerning suitability and specific requirements to upgrade selected depots to meet international standards for the long-term storage of conventional ammunition. The technical level seminar oriented 27 participating ammunition technical workers to the international best practices for PSSM of conventional arms, ammunition, and explosives.

Also in 2011, the U.S. European Command Humanitarian Mine Action Program (USEUCOM HMA) conducted the third phase of a multi-year, train-the-trainer program to help the Albanian Armed Forces Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) program establish an effective command-and-control structure. Assessments and training to improve current EOD procedures, recruiting and training, standard operating procedure development, internal certification, sustainability, and operation safety were initiated as a part of the project. USEUCOM HMA’s total mission cost was $11,000.

Armenia

Armenia has minefields resulting from the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Armenian officials have commented that this land cannot be cleared until the conflict is resolved. Armenia also has an unknown amount of stockpiled mines remaining from the Soviet era.

In FY2011, the Humanitarian Demining Training Center deployed two training specialists to Armenia to assess demining assistance opportunities in training and education. Overseas Humanitarian Disaster Assistance and Civic Aid funded the travel costs, totaling $8,379.

Also in FY2011, the Leahy War Victims Fund of the U.S. Agency for International Development began a new program to provide meaningful employment opportunities for persons with disabilities in Armenia, providing $1 million for efforts that will engage the public and private sectors to develop innovative employment models in five provinces: Ararat, Gegharkunik, Lori, Shirak, and Yerevan.

Azerbaijan

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict left landmines and explosive remnants of war contamination in Azerbaijan. The Azerbaijan National Agency for Mine Action (ANAMA) estimates that landmines have caused 1,400 casualties since 1988. A Landmine Impact Survey revealed that 18 of Azerbaijan’s 65 districts are mine affected, and the majority of affected districts are in Western and Northwestern Azerbaijan in the Fizuli region and in Agstafa near a former Soviet military base. In addition, abandoned stockpiles of aging Soviet munitions and unexploded ordnance (UXO) pose risks to civilians in Azerbaijan.

From FY2000–2011, the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs (PM/WRA) granted $21,988,000 to ANAMA for clearance training and equipment and the expansion of humanitarian demining teams, including mine-detection dog teams.

In FY2011, PM/WRA provided $365,000 to the NATO’s Partnership for Peace Trust Fund Project to help fund the first year of a three-year clearance project. ANAMA, the national implementing partner, used the funds to begin clearance of mines and UXO from 19 square kilometers (more than 7 square miles) of a former Soviet military testing and training area in Northwest Azerbaijan. The United States is the lead international donor, and the Azerbaijani government is providing half of the total amount of funding for these clearance efforts.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Date: 2012 Description: Steel and copper casings pulled apart from artillery shells that were deteriorating or were in excess of Bosnia and Herzegovina's security needs are stacked at the Unis Pretis facility on the outskirts of Sarajevo. The casings will be recycled and sold for their metal to partially offset the cost of destruction.  - State Dept Image
Steel and copper casings pulled apart from artillery shells that were deteriorating or were in excess of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s security needs are stacked at the Unis Pretis facility on the outskirts of Sarajevo. The casings will be recycled and sold for their metal to partially offset the cost of destruction. Photo courtesy of John Stevens, PM/WRA, U.S. Dept. of State.

Bosnia and Herzegovina emerged from its 1992–1995 conflict as the most landmine and explosive remnants of war (ERW) contaminated country in the Balkans.

In FY2010 the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs (PM/WRA) allocated $1,151,000 for Sterling International to demilitarize excess and aging stockpiles of arms and munitions in Bosnia and Herzegovina. These FY2010 funds were obligated in anticipation of an immediate host-government decision to proceed with this project. Following the Bosnia and Herzegovina government’s approval in 2011, Sterling International began the first phase of destruction of 6,000 tons of approximately 20,000 total tons of stockpiled munitions, including cluster and G-class munitions such as white phosphorus, and 67,000 excess small arms and light weapons (SA/LW).

In FY2011 PM/WRA granted $3,185,000 to the Slovenia-based ITF Enhancing Human Security (formerly the International Trust Fund for Demining and Mine Victims Assistance) to continue longstanding U.S.-supported humanitarian mine action in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Clearance efforts were contracted by ITF to Bosnian demining companies. The Bosnia and Herzegovina Mine Action Center (BHMAC), and ITF provided oversight. PM/WRA funding also enabled Southpac Consulting Ltd. to continue examining the ability of Bosnian firms to provide mine-clearance services that meet International Mine Action Standards. In 2011 according to BHMAC, 145 technical surveys and 131 clearance tasks were implemented, demining 12.69 square kilometers (almost 5 square miles) of land. In this process 1,816 anti-personnel mines, 389 anti-tank mines, 5,346 items of unexploded ordnance, including 59 cluster munitions, were cleared.

At the request of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the SA/LW Program of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) sent an expert on an OSCE-led assessment visit to Sarajevo, Tuzla, Bihac, and Mostar to assess the need for an OSCE-funded SA/LW and conventional ammunition storage and security-improvement program at seven depots. The DTRA report concluded that a long-term program will provide necessary improvements to bring those sites to OSCE International best-practice standards.

Bulgaria

Bulgaria was declared mine free in 1999 following the clearance of its minefields along its border with Greece. However, it still faces humanitarian, security, and financial challenges stemming from its massive Cold War-era stockpiles of conventional arms and munitions.

In FY2011, the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs (PM/WRA) granted $2.5 million to the Slovenia-based ITF Enhancing Human Security (formerly the International Trust Fund for Demining and Mine Victims Assistance), for clearance of unexploded ordnance (UXO) after Bulgaria agreed to destroy 500 of its excess SA-7 man-portable air-defense systems (MANPADS) and 500 MANPADS grip stocks. ITF’s work focused on the destruction of UXO in and around the Bulgarian military’s Chelopechene depot near Sofia, which experienced catastrophic explosions in 2008. ITF contracted Sterling International to detect and clear UXO on surface and subsurface areas, and contracted the Montenegrin-based Regional Center for Underwater Demining

(RCUD) to find and clear UXO that had dispersed from the explosions into an adjoining river, ponds, and part of a reservoir. The underwater UXO clearance was completed in November 2011 and quality assured by a Slovenian firm, P.E.D. Sava d.o.o., that was also contracted by the ITF under the PM/WRA grant. Sterling International is expected to successfully complete the terrestrial clearance in July 2012.

Croatia

Date: 2012 Description: During the war the unique soil in Croatia where maraschino cherries are grown was polluted with landmines. With the assistance of PM/WRA working with ITF Enhancing Human Security, and in cooperation with the Croatian Mine Action Center, the land is once again safe and productive.  - State Dept Image
During the war the unique soil in Croatia where maraschino cherries are grown was polluted with landmines. With the assistance of PM/WRA working with ITF Enhancing Human Security, and in cooperation with the Croatian Mine Action Center, the land is once again safe and productive. Photo courtesy of John Stevens, PM/WRA, U.S. Dept. of State.

Croatia remains the second-most mine-affected country in the region as a result of mine and unexploded ordnance (UXO) contamination from the Yugoslav Wars in the 1990s. Despite having a very strong national mine-action program, residents of Croatia remain at risk and the United States continues to provide support for Croatia to clear high-priority areas needed for residential or economic purposes. However, mines are not the only risk to civilians in Croatia. Residents who live in proximity to some military munitions depots are also increasingly at-risk from aging and excess munitions often in legacy facilities inherited by Croatia. In September 2011 a brush fire caused a munitions depot near the town of Knin to explode, resulting in the destruction of the depot and the temporary evacuation of villages in the proximity. The Croatian Ministry of Defense (MOD) had scheduled this depot for closure later that year. The MOD is now supervising the cleanup of UXO at that site and environs.

In FY2011, the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs (PM/WRA) provided $1 million to MOD to destroy 71 of its outdated SA-7 man-portable air-defense systems (MANPADS) and up to 17,000 tons of its surplus, aging munitions, as well as improve the security features at three long term storage sites, bringing them closer to NATO standards. U.S.-Croatia initiatives in previous years led to the destruction of 929 of its obsolete MANPADS, thereby reducing Croatia’s storage and security burden.

In FY2011, PM/WRA also granted $2,546,848 to the Slovenia-based ITF Enhancing Human Security (formerly the International Trust Fund for Demining and Mine Victims Assistance); $1.5 million of this funding is reserved for the destruction of 3,700 tons of Croatia’s aging stockpiled munitions. The remaining $1,046,848 supported technical surveys and mine clearance in Osijek-Baranja, Vukovarsko-Srijemska, and Karlovac counties, which was conducted by Croatian demining firms contracted by ITF.

Estonia

Sea mines and water-borne unexploded ordnance (UXO) placed in the Baltic Sea and in the Gulf of Finland during World Wars I and II still affect maritime commerce and recreation off the coast of Estonia. Likewise, UXO from World Wars I and II and from the period of Soviet occupation are commonly found in Estonian forests and cities, causing a number of deaths and injuries every year. The problem is sufficiently severe that all Estonian schools teach a mandatory course on UXO safety. From FY1999 through FY2010, the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs (PM/WRA) provided $2,499,000 for clearance efforts.

In FY2011, U.S. European Command Humanitarian Mine Action Program (USEUCOM HMA) conducted a mine risk education (MRE) train-the-trainer course for the Estonian Rescue Board (ERB) and provided some demining equipment. Five hospital corpsmen from U.S. naval hospitals Sigonella and Naples trained 17 ERB explosive-ordnance disposal chiefs, deputy chiefs, MRE program managers and instructors, and four regional bomb groups on a national MRE strategy using mass communications. As a result of the training, USEUCOM funded MRE video segments were shown at local movie theaters, linked to pop-up internet banners, and aired on television. Hundreds of thousands of additional Estonian citizens have received landmine/UXO awareness education as a result. USEUCOM funds also provided 15 ground-penetrating radar detectors, compact UXO detectors, large search heads, software and training. The total mission cost was $225,000.

Georgia

Landmine and explosive remnants of war (ERW) contamination in Georgia remains around former Soviet Union military bases and along its administrative boundary lines with the occupied territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. In 2008, after a week of fighting between Georgian and Russian forces in South Ossetia, 20 square kilometers (almost 5,000 acres) of land between the cities of Gori and Tskhinvali was contaminated by additional cluster munitions. In addition, Georgia also faces threats from stockpiles of old and deteriorating munitions remaining from Soviet times.

In FY2011, the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs (PM/WRA) granted $1,158,207 to fund the following international clearance efforts in Georgia:

• The HALO Trust (HALO) received support to continue technical survey and clearance of the high-priority minefields remaining from the Soviet era.

• HALO also received funding to finish survey and clearance of ERW, landmines, and abandoned munitions in the Abkhazia region.

• DELTA (State Military Scientific-Technical Center), a national Georgian entity, received a grant to assist with the destruction of excess and aging conventional munitions.

In November 2011, as a result of efforts supported by PM/WRA funding, HALO declared all 336 known minefields in the Abkhazia region to be mine-free.

Kosovo

Kosovo was contaminated in the 1990s by landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) as a result of conflicts between the Kosovo Liberation Army and the army of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY), and by NATO airstrikes on FRY forces. In addition, unexploded ordnance (UXO) from World War II were found in Kosovo.

From the conclusion of the conflict in 1999 through FY2010, the United States provided more than $28 million in mine-action assistance to Kosovo, much of it through grants to the Slovenia based ITF Enhancing Human Security (formerly known as the International Trust Fund for Demining and Mine Victims Assistance). This assistance, coupled with that of other donors, resulted in most of Kosovo being cleared of landmines and ERW. The humanitarian demining arm of the Kosovo Security Force (KSF) has received significant training and equipment. Some rural areas with little or no permanent habitation, but where hunting and forestry take place, remain contaminated by vestigial mines and UXO.

In FY2011, PM/WRA provided $450,000 in a grant to ITF, which contracted local demining companies to clear remaining landmines and explosive remnants of war in 62 hazardous areas and to verify 56 other suspected hazardous areas throughout the country. This grant also included assistance to the KSF’s humanitarian demining operations with mine-detection dog teams based in Bosnia.

Lithuania

Though there are no known remaining mined areas, Lithuania is still affected by scattered unexploded ordnance generated by combat during World War II. In addition, some of the arms and conventional munitions stockpiled by the Lithuanian armed forces are excess to their national security needs.

In FY2010, the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs (PM/WRA) granted $500,000 to the Slovenian-based ITF Enhancing Human Security (formerly the International Trust Fund for Demining and Mine Victims Assistance) to support the Lithuanian Ministry of National Defense’s efforts to begin destruction of these excess conventional weapons and munitions. The destruction phase of the project was completed in 2011 with the collaboration of the Czech Ministry of Defense. The warehouse upgrade is scheduled to be completed in 2012.

Macedonia

Date: 2012 Description: Paul D. Wohlers, U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Macedonia, greets divers working on underwater demining.  © Photo courtesy of Lindinta Ahmeti, U.S. Embassy, Skopje
Paul D. Wohlers, U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Macedonia, greets divers working on underwater demining. Photo courtesy of Lindinta Ahmeti, U.S. Embassy, Skopje.

World Wars I and II and clashes in 2001 between government forces and ethnic Albanian insurgents left landmine and explosive remnants of war contamination in Macedonia. Resulting in part from United States’ assistance in clearance efforts, Macedonia became mine impact-free in September 2006. For several years the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs (PM/WRA) also provided grants to ITF Enhancing Human Security (formerly the International Trust Fund for Demining and Mine Victims Assistance) for the training and equipping of scuba divers from Macedonia’s Protection and Rescue Directorate, which enabled them to safely remove several tons of unexploded ordnance (UXO) and clear tens of thousands of square meters of lake bottom in the process. On March 22, 2012, the U.S. Embassy in Skopje, representatives from ITF, and the government of Macedonia held a ceremony on the banks of Lake Ohrid to commemorate the successful conclusion of U.S. assistance, using the last of its FY2010 funds to help Macedonia clear underwater UXO. The ceremony also marked Macedonia’s achievement of the national capacity to clear the remaining underwater hazards on its own.

Following significant decreases in the size of the Macedonian army between 2007 and 2011, the Macedonian government began reducing its stockpiles of excess arms and munitions. In March 2011, in response to a request from the Macedonian Ministry of Defense, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency led a U.S. Government inter-agency team, including an officer from PM/WRA, to assess the state of Macedonia’s military depots and their contents. Following the assessment, the team immediately briefed the Macedonian Ministry of Defense on its findings.

Montenegro

Date: 2010 Description: A team from Sterling International with local Montenegrin partners, working under a subcontract to ArmorGroup North America with funding from PM/WRA, with the last BL-755 cluster bomb in Montenegrin government stocks. It was destroyed 5 October 2010, making the country cluster-bomb safe.  - State Dept Image
A team from Sterling International with local Montenegrin partners, working under a subcontract to ArmorGroup North America with funding from PM/WRA, with the last BL-755 cluster bomb in Montenegrin government stocks. It was destroyed 5 October 2010, making the country cluster-bomb safe. Photo courtesy of John Stevens, PM/WRA, U.S. Dept. of State.

Despite contamination from explosive remnants of war (ERW) from World War I and II, and unexploded ordnance and landmines from the conflicts surrounding the breakup of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Montenegro is largely mine-impact free today, thanks to the international donor community and the United States in particular. However, the emerging post-Cold War threat posed by stockpiles of excess small arms and light weapons (SA/LW) and deteriorating munitions now endangers Montenegrins who live in proximity to military depots, and consequently the United States has been helping to confront this newer challenge.

From FY2007–FY2010, the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs (PM/WRA) provided more than $6.4 million to international organizations for demining and conventional weapons and munitions destruction programs in Montenegro. In February 2010, in coordination with PM/WRA and at the request of the Office of Defense Cooperation at the U.S. Embassy in Podgorica, a Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) team conducted a physical security and stockpile management (PSSM) assessment at five stockpile sites containing ammunition and weapons belonging to both the Montenegrin Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Interior. The DTRA team gave recommendations on the safe storage of conventional ammunition, priorities for ammunition/ weapons destruction, and a plan for PM/WRA engagement in Montenegro.

In FY2011, PM/WRA granted $1.75 million to the Slovenia based ITF Enhancing Human Security (formerly the International Trust Fund for Demining and Mine Victims Assistance), which contracted Sterling International to demilitarize and destroy 1,300 tons of aging munitions. The Montenegrin Ministry of Defense will use funds generated by scrap metal and other substances remaining from the deactivation of these munitions to improve the PSSM of its remaining arms and munitions and to further support munitions destruction. In addition, ArmorGroup North America transferred equipment from a previous PM/WRA contract to ITF to support Sterling International’s munitions destruction efforts.

Romania

Extensive defense industry and excess weapons stockpiles still remain in Romania from Nicolae Ceausescu’s regime (1965–1989) in Soviet times. As a result, Romania is working toward compliance with international arms-control standards, including improving police capacity and stockpile management.

At the request of the Romanian Ministry of Defense (MOD) and the U.S. Embassy, the Small Arms Light Weapons (SA/LW) Program of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency conducted a SA/LW physical security and stockpile management (PSSM) technical seminar in Bucharest, Romania from 8–12 November 2010. The technical ammunition seminar was jointly sponsored by the Office of Defense Cooperation and the Romanian Joint Logistics Command (JLC) in Bucharest for 33 unit commanders and senior leaders from ammunition storage units throughout Romania. The seminar culminated in a practical exercise at a nearby ammunition storage site.

The U.S. European Command Humanitarian Mine Action Program conducted a demolitions operations train-the-trainer course for the MOD JLC. Four explosive-ordnance disposal (EOD) technicians from the 702nd EOD Company, U.S. Army Europe, trained 26 JLC EOD technicians to significantly enhance their demolition operations capacity while conducting safer and more effective demolition procedures. As a result of the training, JLC raised its 60-kilogram single-demolition shot limit to 400 kilograms. This new limit allows for more efficient explosive remnants of war destruction and gives JLC the ability to start the process of destroying their 50,000 metric tons (about 55,116 tons) of excess stockpiled munitions. The total cost of this mission was $150,000.

Serbia

Date: 2012 Description: A warning sign at the edge of woods infested with explosive remnants of war in Serbia. The Cyrillic lettering at the top provides a warning in Serbian while the Latin lettering at the bottom warns ethnic Albanians.  - State Dept Image
A warning sign at the edge of woods infested with explosive remnants of war in Serbia. The Cyrillic lettering at the top provides a warning in Serbian while the Latin lettering at the bottom warns ethnic Albanians. Photo courtesy of John Stevens, PM/WRA, U.S. Dept. of State.

Some landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW) still contaminate parts of Serbia as a result of conflicts surrounding the break-up of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in the 1990s. NATO’s air strikes on Serbia to end ethnic cleansing in Kosovo in 1999 left additional ERW contamination. Through clearance efforts, the extensive landmines along Serbia’s border with Croatia were cleared in 2009. However, some mine-affected areas still remain along the border with Kosovo.

In FY2011, the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs (PM/WRA) granted $1,275,000 to the Slovenia-based ITF Enhancing Human Security (formerly known as the International Trust Fund for Demining and Mine Victims Assistance) to undertake humanitarian mine action and battle-area clearance as well as a pilot physical security and stockpile management (PSSM) project. Within the ITF grant, Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA), was provided a subaward to supervise landmine clearance conducted by Serbian firms. The grant also funded training and PSSM assessment for the Serbian Ministry of Defense. ITF used previously unspent PM/WRA funds to conduct additional cluster-munitions clearance in Serbia.

At the request of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the Small Arms Light Weapons (SA/LW) Program of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) provided one expert to an OSCE-led visit to Belgrade, Serbia in September 2011 to assess the need for an OSCE-funded conventional ammunition assistance project at four ammunition sites in Serbia. The DTRA SA/LW expert provided technical expertise during the mission and assisted in the production of the report completed by OSCE’s Conflict Prevention Center.

Ukraine

Ukraine is working to destroy excess stockpiles of small arms and light weapons (SA/LW) and munitions under a U.S.-led NATO Partnership for Peace (PfP) project. In addition to the United States and the European Union, the following 17 donor countries have made financial contributions to the project: Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.

This is one of the largest weapons and munitions destruction projects in history, and represents the largest PfP project undertaken by NATO. The project is in response to Ukraine’s request for help in eliminating 133,000 tons of munitions and 1.5 million SA/LW. The stockpiles, mainly dating from the Soviet era, pose a potential proliferation risk and are a threat to public safety and the environment. From 2006 to 2011, the Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs (PM/WRA) provided more than $12 million to support Phase I of this project, which was completed in May 2011. A total of 15,000 tons of munitions, 400,000 SA/LW, and 1,000 man-portable air-defense systems were destroyed during Phase I. The NATO Support Agency (NSPA, formerly the NATO Maintenance and Supply Agency, or NAMSA) executed these weapons destruction efforts on behalf of donor states.

In FY2011 the U.S. agreed to continue as the lead nation for Phase II of this project and began preparations with NSPA and the government of Ukraine in June 2011. Phase II involves the destruction of 366,000 SA/LW and 76,000 tons of munitions. PM/WRA provided $3.1 million to support the destruction of 5,000 tons of munitions and 83,182 SA/LW in FY2011. Phase II destruction activities commenced in April 2012.



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