Minister Vulin: Security of the citizens of Serbia comes first
Minister of Defense Aleksandar Vulin, High Representative for NATO Support and Procurement Agency, Daniel Dorrington, and Director of the Kragujevac Technical Overhaul Institute, Lieutenant Colonel Rasim Ciriković, officially opened two newly constructed installations today at this Ministry’s of Defense facility – to extract explosive charges from the missile shells and for delaboration, upgrading and maintenance of ordnance, with a total value of EUR 2.740.000.
The money was provided by the Government of the Republic of Serbia, the NATO Trust Fund and the Technical Overhaul Institute of Kragujevac.
As Minister Vulin pointed out, the NATO Trust Fund has so far helped our efforts to make Serbia safer with an investment of four and a half million dollars.
- Following the wars in which the participation of Serbia was not of her choosing and the wars she did not cause, much stockpiled and obsolete ammunition remained behind, all of which poses a security risk for each of us. Therefore, it is extremely important that two new facilities were opened today that have the capacity to solve us the problem of unexploded ordnance and the problem of obsolete ammunition. The NATO Trust Fund and, as its largest donor, the United States Government have done us a great service in helping us make our country safer and safely destroy the unexploded ordnance and stockpiled ammunition that have been a ballast in our warehouses, but also to extract from it all that is useful to us, said the Minister of Defense.
Minister Vulin said that the two new constructions were opened today, one of which was financed in the amount of one million and six hundred thousand Euros provided by the Government of the Republic of Serbia, headed by the then Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić, and the other, amounting to nine hundred thousand Euros provided by the NATO Trust Fund.
Minister Vulin stressed that the country of Serbia will do everything to ensure that, first and foremost, employees working at the Institute and all those working on the delaboration of unexploded ordnance are kept safe.
According to him, this is the most optimal way to cooperate with the NATO Trust Fund and with other governments and international organizations.
- These are not endless courses or expert visits that sometimes teach us something and sometimes do not. This is concrete way to help and a way to make Serbia a safer place. What I am particularly proud of is that all the technical and technological means, all the machines that can be seen here are the product of our minds and our hands. They were manufactured and designed in Serbia and now we can offer them to other countries where similar facilities are needed.
The High Representative of the NATO Support and Procurement Agency, Daniel Dorrington, said the institution was fully supporting the efforts of the Ministry of Defense and the Technical Overhaul Institute to re-establish the operational capacity of the facility, which is being commissioned today.
- Demilitarization of obsolete ammunition is key to reducing the risk of explosions, and today we are here to confirm our support, and in the months ahead, it is planned to destroy up to 1.300 tons of ammunition in this facility, which will significantly improve safety; and this is a concrete example of what partnership between the NATO and Serbia can produce – Dorrington said, adding that the Kragujevac Technical Repair Institute could become a “regional center of excellence” for the demilitarization of obsolete ammunition.
The British Defense Attaché, Colonel Nick Ilić, underlined the great importance of the initiative for ammunition and ordnance destruction declared to be dangerous, obsolete or redundant by the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Serbia.
- There is about 1.300 tons of such ammunition selected by the Ministry of Defense, of which about 250 gross tons have been destroyed so far, so it is an imperative that the Institute will continue with this work as of this autumn – said the British Defense Attaché and announced that the procedure for approval of additional funds to meet the new needs of the Technical Overhaul Institute in Kragujevac is underway.
He called this project an excellent opportunity to develop relations between Serbia and the NATO, but also Serbia with her neighbors, in order to improve the overall level of security in the region.
Defense Attaché of the United States, Colonel Thomas Butler recalled that Ambassador Scot, immediately after the accident, which occurred at the Institute in late February 2017, on behalf of the United States Government, offered to help Serbia respond to this tragedy.
- Immediately after the event, NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg said the Alliance would continue to help Serbia safely store ammunition and destroy dangerous surpluses. Accordingly, over the past two years, the United States have donated more than $ 1.3 million to the NATO Trust Fund for Serbia, Butler said, adding that today’s opening symbolizes efforts by donor countries and the Government of the Republic of Serbia to pursue common interests in combating the threat generated by the accumulation of unsafe and obsolete ammunition.
Director of the Kragujevac Technical Overhaul Institute, Lt. Col. Rasim Ćiriković pointed out that today is a “big day” for the Institute and for the process of maintaining ordnance.
- Today we have a modern line that fully meets our and international standards. Everyone who works at this facility is safe. The explosive dissolution installation is something completely new that the Kragujevac Overhaul Institute has not had so far, pointed out the Director of the Kragujevac Technical Overhaul Institute.
The explosive charge extraction installation is 187 square meters in size. It is an autonomous facility that has its own capacity for the production of water vapor and thermal energy, equipped with a fire alarm system and automatic fire extinguishing.
The value of the completed construction works and installed equipment is 900 thousand Euros, out of which 850 thousand Euros were provided by the NATO Trust Fund, while 50 thousand were contributed by the Technical Overhaul Institute, whose experts designed and installed the equipment.
The installations for the delaboration, upgrading and maintenance of ordnance, with the total area of 700 square meters, is divided into four fire alarm areas and equipped with fire systems for automatic fire fighting.
The total value of the completed works is EUR 1.840.000 and the money was provided by the Government of the Republic of Serbia, in the amount of EUR 1.620.000, while the Technical Overhaul Institute of Kragujevac invested EUR 220 thousand which, in addition to this, produced, overhauled and installed the equipment.