Helping Serbia dispose of stocks of surplus munitions

30 July 2013

A government-owned demilitarization facility in central Serbia will be further developed to ensure the safe and environmentally responsible disposal of almost 2,000 tonnes of surplus munitions, reducing the risk of explosion from ageing ammunition as well as the risk of proliferation.

Seven years ago, an explosion at the ammunition depot in Paracin in October 2006 clearly demonstrated the potential danger to local populations posed by stockpiles of obsolete ammunition. Fortunately there were no casualties but the depot was completely destroyed, most of the windows of the town were blown out and the tremors were felt some 20 kilometres away. Surplus ammunition can also pose a wider security threat should the material fall into the wrong hands.

“Security and stability in the Western Balkans is a high priority for the UK, after the history of the last two decades. So it was natural for our Ministry of Defence to respond positively to Serbia’s request to NATO for assistance in removing its surplus ammunition stockpile,” explains Mariot Leslie, the United Kingdom’s Permanent Representative to NATO.

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