Montenegro showed its commitment to regional peace and security with the launch of a new demilitarization initiative aimed at reducing surplus weapons and ammunition.
The Montenegro Demilitarization Programme (MONDEM) is a joint project of the Montenegrin Ministry of Defence, the OSCE and UNDP. The programme ultimately aims to reduce nearly 12 thousand tonnes of heavy weaponry to some two thousand tons, and cut the number of ammunition depots from ten to three.
As a first step battle tanks, used by the Yugoslav National Army (JNA) in the wars in Bosnia and Croatia in the early 1990s, are being melted down for scrap.
“The Government of Montenegro is to be applauded for this gesture of peace and reconciliation destroying weaponry of the former JNA,” said Garret Tankosić Kelly, UNDP Resident Representative a.i./UN Interagency Focal Point in Montenegro. “Congratulations also to the Ministry of Defence for recognising that these tanks can better serve Montenegro's development by being melted down and recycled for new and more peaceful purposes”.
The Ministry of Defence of Montenegro has indicated that demilitarization of conventional ammunition and the establishment of safe storage, based on appropriate UN agreements and NATO standards, as well as in line with OSCE commitments, is one of the priorities of the country’s defence reform process.
“By ridding itself of these weapons, Montenegro is taking a crucial step in the reform of its defence forces into an efficient, modern and professional armed force to defend the country as part of a collective defence system,” said Minister of Defence Boro Vučinić.
Supported by the OSCE and UNDP, similar types of projects were realized in Armenia, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Georgia, Moldova, Tajikistan and Ukraine. Lessons learned from these processes will be integrated into the MONDEM programme with the technical support of the South Eastern and Eastern Europe Clearinghouse for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons.