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NATO seeks offers for Bosnia disarmament fund

Written by: Staff
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BRUSSELS, Apr 3 (Reuters) NATO is seeking contributions for a 13 million euro trust fund to assist the demobilisation and retraining of up to 11,000 military personnel in Bosnia, the alliance said today.

NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer told a news briefing a few NATO members had already contributed to the fund, which would be the largest established by the alliance.

''I hope that many nations will step forward,'' he said after a meeting of the alliance's North Atlantic Council and the European Union's Political and Security Committee. ''I am hoping to raise a lot of money.'' The fund would be used both to help retrain military personnel for civilian professions and for different military roles, a NATO spokeswoman said.

NATO co-chairs Bosnia's defence reform commission, which is working to establish a single professional military force in the country. The alliance has about 300 troops based in Sarajevo, the Bosnian capital.

NATO deployed in Bosnia as part of the Dayton accords that ended the 1992-95 war. It was in charge of peacekeeping until late 2004, when it handed over its duties to a European Union force.

The force's main task now is to arrest the top fugitives wanted by the United Nations war crimes tribunal, Bosnian Serb wartime commander Ratko Mladic and his political boss Radovan Karadzic. Numerous searches over the last five years have been fruitless.

REUTERS TM PC2321

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