(14 December 1995 – 4 December 2004)
Following the conflict, broken out in B-H (Bosnia-Herzegovina) in the summer of 1991, the E.U. and OSCE took the initiative to restore peace and establish a dialogue in the area.
By the 713/25-9-1991 Resolution, the U.N. asked all member-states to impose a “general” arms and military supplies embargo against the Former Republic of Yugoslavia.
In early 1992, UNPROFOR was sent to the territory of the Former Republic of Yugoslavia to mediate between opposing parties. Additionally, UNPREDEP deployed in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
The situation in B-H deteriorated, since the peace-making plan was not approved and due to serious conflicts and conflict of interest’s crisis deepened. The U.N. UNPROFOR withdrew form the Former Republic of Yugoslavia.
In the context of the Dayton Agreement, on the 21st of November 1995, the final document was signed in Paris in December 1995, and the 1031UNSC Resolution, the establishment of a NATO Multinational Military Force, IFOR (Implementation Force), was been authorized by NATO. B-H territory was within IFOR AOR. The operation titled with the code name “Joint Endeavor”. The Hellenic Governmental Council on Foreign Policy and National Defense decided the participation of the Hellenic Armed Forces in the above force.
During the Istanbul Summit, on 18 June 2004, NATO decided to terminate SFOR operations and initiate “ALTHEA’ E.U.-led operations instead. The E.U. would assume responsibility from 4 December 2004.
Additionally, the NATO HQ at Sarajevo was established. Its manning started in July 2004 and started operating in December 2004.
PARTICIPATION OF THE HELLENIC FORCES:
- One Special Transport Company of 250 men and 117 vehicles, subordinated to the Belgian Transport Battalion, stationed at Visoko, named as the Hellenic Contingent in Bosnia
- One Frigate and two Mine Sweepers to support “SHARP GUARD” operations.
- One C-130 a/c and 17 men as supporting personnel, stationed at Rimini, Italy to assist in transportation of personnel and material for IFOR-SFOR
- Fifteen officers in support of the HQS
In November 1996, the Hellenic Governmental Council on Foreign Policy and National Defense decided upon extending the participation of the e Hellenic Contingent in Bosnia and in the Multinational Force, renamed as SFOR (Stabilization Force) on 20-12-1996. The mission of the Hellenic Contingent was to transport and supply materials from the airports and ports in Bosnia for the reconstruction of the country.
It consisted of one Company of 280 men, settled at camp in Vissoko, 28 km north-west of Sarajevo, together with the personnel from Belgium, Luxemburg and Austria. The Transportation Battalion was named BELUGA, according to the initials of the countries composing it (Belgium, Luxembourg, Greece, Austria).
In April 1997, Belgium, which had the command of the camp, withdrew from BELUGA and the Hellenic Contingent assumed the leading role.
On the 28th of June 1998, a Bulgarian platoon of 26 men joined the Hellenic Force. Following the withdrawal of Luxemburg, the International Force was named HELBA, (HELLAS-BULGARIA-AUSTRIA) until early 2003, despite the withdrawal of the Austrian Transport Battalion on the 14th of December 2000, and the Bulgarian Platoon, on the 14th of January 2001. The Hellenic Contingent was repatriated in early 2003.
The Hellenic Contingent in Bosnia performed more than 2000 operations successfully, covering 19.000.000 km under adverse weather conditions and on poor and rough road-network.
A worth mentioning initiative of the Hellenic Contingent in Bosnia is the cooperation with the Greek Embassy in Sarajevo, as well as the Organization “Doctors of the World”. Twenty-two handicapped children from various towns in B-H and Serbia were gathered and sent to Greece for 15 days; the children were victims of exposed minefields during the war.
The conduct of successful missions proved the high professionalism of the Hellenic Force personnel. Transportation capability was crucial for the logistic System of the Multinational Force.
In the context of SFOR, the Hellenic Contingent was transformed into a Transportation Company, with one (1) Medical Platoon and one (1) National Support Element, the total strength amounting to 100 men.
Additionally, six (6) Greek Officers were assigned to SFOR HQs.
The Allied Military Intelligence Battalion and National Intelligence Cell were subordinated to SFOR. In the former unit, two (2) cadres participated and in the latter, four (4) cadres participated from Greece.
In the context of the NATO decision to review its forces in the Balkans, Greece participated as leading Nation from February 2003, with one Military Police Company of 45-50 men, to the SFOR International Military Police, stationed at BUTMIR Camp (Sarajevo). The force was stationed there on the 10th of January 2003 and the Transportation Company returned to Greece in February 2003, with material and vehicles being forwarded to the Military Police Company.