Ministry of defence Republic of Serbia

Minister Stefanović: Greater involvement of military in engineering works

Today, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Nebojša Stefanović, PhD, has visited members of the 3rd Army Brigade in “Toplički Ustanak” barracks and service members tasked with cleaning the Toplica river bed in Kuršumlija.  On that occasion, he said that the President of the Republic of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić had instructed the Ministry of Defence and the Serbian Armed Forces to enhance their role in engineering works performed in our country.
- I am glad to see great cooperation between the local self-government and the Serbian Armed Forces here. Regardless of the tropical weather in our country, members of the Third Brigade’s 310th Engineer Battalion have been working hard over the past seven or eight working days and managed to clean a large portion of the river bed, some 400, 500 metres, and they will complete the remaining work in the coming days - Minister Stefanović said.
According to him, activities like this are another way for the Serbian Armed Forces to build their capabilities.
- I have spoken to President Vučić and his idea and instruction is to enhance the role of the Ministry of Defence and the Serbian Armed Forces in the engineering works that are being performed in Serbia. You can see some of the newly acquired machines for our military here, and we want to use our engineering capabilities to help wherever we can, where local self-governments are unable to do so due to the limited capabilities of utility companies. We are ready to help even with road construction, landscaping and everything else that the military can do - said Minister Stefanović.
He is glad that the 3rd Army Brigade understands how important it is for the Serbian Armed Forces to be at the service of the people in all situations.
- The military is always there for the people, and in difficult times, in times of need, you know you can count on uniformed personnel. Today, I have had the opportunity to see that the entire 3rd Army Brigade understands this, that they know that the role of the military is to be at the service of the people in all situations – said Minister Stefanović.

According to him, during his visit to members of the Third Army Brigade in training in “Toplički Ustanak” barracks, he realized that they are one of the most solid corps in our armed forces.  
- Today, I’ve had the opportunity to see our mechanized battalions and a small mock drill they performed involving loading and unloading, and they really are the core of our military. Besides these young men who operate the machinery, you could also see professional soldiers – members of auxiliary working groups, at work. They do not only use combat vehicles, but also engineering vehicles, to help people and prevent torrential floods from happening and causing serious problems by blocking riverbeds. Once again, I want to thank all the people who are participating in this, including the mayor and the Commander of the 3rd Brigade, all members of the engineer corps, Lieutenant Colonel Milenković, and everyone else who has participated in these engineering works for showing great commitment and determination over the past seven or eight days - said Minister Stefanović.
According to him, this is exactly why investing in our military will continue. 

- We will seek to modernize, upgrade their weapons and equipment. I have also talked to the President about a salary increase for the military in the coming period, if the economic situation permits, because it is an important factor in attracting new soldiers and retaining the existing ones – said Minister Stefanović and invited young people to apply for voluntary military service and become members of our armed forces.
  Colonel Dragan Antić, Commander of the 3rd Army Brigade welcomed Minister Stefanović at the “Toplički Ustanak” barracks, and the mayor of Kuršumlija, Vojimir Čarapić, accompanied him during his inspection of the engineering works.

According to the mayor of Kuršumlija, this is not the first time that the military and the municipality of Kuršumlija have collaborated.  

- Previously, we collaborated on reducing the effects of flooding, and this is the first time we have taken preventative measures. You know that the territory belonging to Kuršumlija is one of the largest, with the largest number of roads, and the public utility enterprise cannot manage to do everything. Through cooperation, things are done much faster and I hope we will continue undertaking activities like this in the future - said the mayor of Kuršumlija.

After the tour of the units, Minister Stefanović also visited St. Nicholas’ Monastery, Stefan Nemanja’s oldest endowment, where he was welcomed by hieromonk Simeon.