Bosnia donates 550 tonnes of arms to Iraq

Bosnia donates 550 tonnes of arms to Iraq
A member of Iraq government forces.

SARAJEVO - Bosnia has donated more than 550 tonnes of surplus arms and ammunition to Iraq as part of its involvement in the US-led coalition against Islamic State militants, the Balkan country's defence minister said on Monday.

The donation was made on request from the United States and comprises arms and ammunition produced decades ago, when Bosnia was part of the now-defunct Yugoslav federation, Minister Zekerijah Osmic told reporters.

"I assume that we shall continue talks on this topic with our partners, in this case the US embassy, and that it is possible to follow up with similar donations in the future," Osmic said.

Under its NATO and US-sponsored defence reforms, Bosnia has to offload more than 16,500 tonnes of ammunition and more than 40,000 pieces of weaponry, a surplus left over after its 1992-95 war in which more than 100,000 people died.

Bosnia is not in the NATO alliance but hopes to join.

A lot of the surplus arms, kept in warehouses often close to human settlements, are becoming increasingly rusty and may pose a security risk for citizens, Osmic said.

This is the first Bosnian donation to Iraq as part of the coalition fight against Islamic State, but Bosnia has previously provided donations to both Iraq and Afghanistan when Bosnian troops served in international missions there.

The Islamic State militants have seized swathes of territory in both Iraq and Syria and have declared an Islamic 'caliphate'.

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