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U.S. to Help Train, Equip Bosnia

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 11, 1996 – A U.S.-led international program to help train and Bosnian Muslim-Croat federation defense forces is set to start in Sarajevo, President Clinton announced July 9.

"The program will help ensure that upon IFOR's departure, a military balance exists among the former warring parties so that none of them are encouraged to resume hostilities," Clinton said.

The program's start depended on the Bosnian government complying with a Dayton peace accord provision to withdraw foreign forces and end its intelligence cooperation with Iran. The federation also had to pass a law integrating its military forces and creating Western-oriented defense institutions.

Clinton said he certified the Bosnian government had met its commitments with regard to foreign forces and relations with Iran June 26. The federation passed the new defense law July 9, he said. "When implemented, the law will strengthen security for all Bosnians and contribute to a lasting peace in the region," Clinton said.

Military Professional Resources Inc., a U.S.-based contractor, will manage the program with Bosnia. The company's first training session for senior military leaders in Bosnia will begin within a month, the president said.

The United States will transfer about $100 million in military equipment to Bosnia. The package includes individual equipment items, tactical communications assets, small arms and ammunition, main battle tanks, armored personnel carriers, light anti-tank weapons and utility helicopters. The equipment is excess from the U.S. drawdown.

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