EU winds up Bosnia police mission
(SARAJEVO) - The European Union on Saturday ended its almost decade-long police mission in Bosnia after stabilising the Balkan country following a 1990s ethnic conflict.
The EU Police Mission in Bosnia-Hercegovina (EUPM), the first such mission deployed by the 27-nation bloc, arrived in 2003 to replace a UN operation.
"We have been a significant actor in improving the security situation in Bosnia-Hercegovina," EUPM head Stefan Feller said on the mission's website.
"We are proud -- that for the first time ever -- a seamless transition process has been achieved," he said.
The mission, tasked with policing the country and training local forces, peaked at 880 police officers in late 2004 but was gradually reduced and currently counts 80 officers.
While the police operation is over, the EU still runs a military mission named EUFOR ALTHEA.
Bosnia's 1992-1995 war between its Croats, Muslim and Serb populations claimed some 100,000 lives and left the country deeply divided along ethnic lines.
Sarajevo is lagging behind its Balkan neighbours in its bid to join the EU.
Of the six states which formed the former Yugoslavia, Slovenia joined the EU in 2004, while Croatia is set to become a bloc's newest member next year.
Macedonia and Serbia have been granted candidate status, while Montenegro entered into membership negotiations on Friday. Bosnia wants to apply for EU membership status this year.
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