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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Transfer of responsibility on Operation Althea

17 December 2013

1st Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland has taken over the UK's commitment to the EU stabilisation mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

1st Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland (1 SCOTS) has taken over from the 1st Battalion Irish Guards to deliver the European Union Force (EUFOR) Operation Althea, which delivers capacity-building and training to the armed forces of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

1 SCOTS will also retain the capability to intervene to help maintain the safe and secure environment in the event of a security crisis in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The Irish Guards have completed a 12-month period where they were held at high readiness in the UK ready to respond should EUFOR require it. During 2013 they also took part in a 2-week training exercise with Bosnian armed forces.

The Minister for International Security Strategy, Dr Andrew Murrison, said:

'1 Irish Guards have supported the EU/NATO partnership and EUFOR to retain its capacity to react throughout Bosnia to any possible security challenges as part of the UK's commitment to regional security.'

'UK armed forces have a long-standing and excellent tradition contributing to multinational peacekeeping and stabilisation operations.'

'1 SCOTS will continue the UK armed forces contributions to the EUFOR deployment which will place 1 SCOTS at the forefront of the UK's extensive defence engagement activities overseas, which project influence, help to safeguard peace and security in countries affected by conflict or instability, and tackle security threats before they reach the UK.'

The UK armed forces contribute to a number of stabilisation and humanitarian operations and initiatives in fragile and conflict-afflicted states across the world. The UK is fortunate to have the resources and military capabilities to deal with multiple operations concurrently and is able to respond rapidly to support conflict prevention and resolution and humanitarian crises.

As a European nation, and a leading member of both NATO and the EU, the UK engages in numerous bilateral and multilateral initiatives that provide regional security. The Ministry of Defence and UK armed forces regularly work with partners from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development, with allies and partner nations, and with non-governmental organisations and others to prevent conflict in unstable countries.

As part of EUFOR's over-the-horizon reserves, 1 SCOTS will ensure UK armed forces continue to play an important part on behalf of the UK in the international community's commitment to maintaining a safe and secure environment in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

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