The Chief of Defence Staff (JEMAD), Admiral General Teodoro Esteban López Calderón, together with the Commander of the Operations Command, the Spanish Ambassador to Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Mayor of Mostar, took part in a ceremony in Mostar's Plaza de España to honour the 30th anniversary of the beginning of the Spanish mission in these territories and to pay respect to the 23 Spaniards of the operation who lost their lives. The ceremony was also attended by a commission of Spanish military personnel from the army, navy, air and space forces, and the Guardia Civil.
On 8 November 1992, the ship "Castilla" arrived at the port of Split with a contingent of 714 soldiers and 177 vehicles that formed the Tactical Grouping "Malaga", which was responsible for initiating the Spanish mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Thirty years later, Mostar's Plaza España was decorated to commemorate this operation, which has meant so much to the members of the Armed Forces and to the Bosnian population.
"At that time, a close relationship began between our Armed Forces and the citizens of Bosnia-Herzegovina that has been maintained and consolidated over these 30 years, and which is clearly reflected in the participation of Bosnian civilian and military authorities as well as the citizens of the city of Mostar in this simple act," as the JEMAD stated in his speech.
The Admiral also wanted to highlight that, during all these years, more than 46,000 Spanish military personnel have taken part in the successive missions that have been carried out in these lands, both under the flag of the United Nations, and subsequently, and consecutively, of NATO and the European Union, demonstrating Spain's firm commitment to security, peace and coexistence in Bosnia-Herzegovina. This commitment," he added, "continues to this day through the participation of two Spanish Army officers who, from their headquarters at Camp Butmir in Sarajevo, continue to support the Bosnian authorities in maintaining a stable and secure environment through close cooperation with the Armed Forces, security forces and civilian authorities in their daily work.
For her part, the Spanish Ambassador to Bosnia-Herzegovina, Teresa Lizaranzu Perinat, expressed her gratitude for the affection that the population shows day by day towards Spain and our troops, "as well as the close collaboration that we maintain". She also stressed Spain's major role in the operation, thanks to which a very representative bond of solidarity and commitment has been created, as well as emotional and political ties with this country, which are still in place today.
Then, in Mostar's Plaza España, where a monolith commemorates those who died in the operation, honours were paid "to the 23 Spaniards who with honour, courage and heroism gave their lives in this country, in the line of duty, to make Bosnia-Herzegovina a better place to live," the JEMAD emphasised. At that moment, in that place, "Death is not the end" and the Spanish anthem marked the feelings of each and every one of those present.
There, He recalled that the Armed Forces are permanently prepared to fulfil the missions assigned to them in the entire spectrum of operations, as they have been demonstrating for the past 30 years. In the case of Bosnia-Herzegovina, with the passage of the Spanish military who contributed to peace being established in the heart of Europe, for which they carried out thousands of patrols, deactivation of mines and explosive devices, countless escorts of convoys, protection of displaced persons and refugees, reconstruction of infrastructures, HEALTHCARE, and a long etcetera that will always remain in the minds and feelings of the people of Bosnia.
Camp Butmir, an open mission
On April 19th, the Commander of the Operations Command, Lieutenant General Francisco Braco Carbó, together with the COMEUFOR, Lieutenant General Helmut Habermayer, and the second head of the Spanish Embassy in BiH, Jordi Llorens, paid tribute to the deceased soldiers at the plaque that remembers them at the Camp Butmir base, where the European Union mission in Bosnia (EUFOR) is deployed.
The modest ceremony was the culmination of a series of briefings that the CMOPS, along the Spanish Ambassador, Teresa Lizaranzu Perinat, held with the principal EU and NATO military authorities in BiH, as well as with the country's General Staff. A country whose armed forces are focused on defending its territory, completing the extensive post-conflict minefields, fulfilling its international commitments and participating in missions abroad.