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Canadian Forces contribution to NATO Operations in the former Yugoslav Republic ff Macedonia: Operation FORAGE
BG-03.007 - January 23, 2003
On June 14, 2001, the government of the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia asked NATO for assistance in stabilizing the country; in response, NATO developed Operation Essential Harvest, the collection of weapons from the armed groups of ethnic Albanians who had been in conflict with government forces. Under this plan, a 30-day collection program would be followed by a monitoring operation. The North Atlantic Council approved Operation Essential Harvest on June 29, 2001.
On August 13, the Macedonian government in Skopje and the representatives of the ethnic Albanian faction reached a political framework agreement and, on August 15, the North Atlantic Council authorized the immediate establishment of the headquarters of what was to be called Task Force Harvest.
Operation Forage began on August 18, 2001, with the arrival in Skopje of three Canadian staff officers to serve with the headquarters of Task Force Harvest. It ended on October 1, 2002, with the repatriation of the last Canadian staff officer to serve in the headquarters. The objective of the operation was to help collect weapons and ammunition from the armed groups of ethnic Albanians in the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia.
The first task was to assess progress toward compliance with several conditions
of the framework agreement: the completion of a political agreement between
the parties to the conflict, and a status of forces agreement between the government
and NATO; the development of a weapons-collection plan, including a timetable;
and the establishment of an enduring ceasefire respected by all parties. Significant
progress had, indeed, been made in these areas and, in order to take advantage
of gains in peace and stability, the North Atlantic Council authorized the Supreme
Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) to send troops into the former Yugoslav republic
of Macedonia to begin Operation Essential Harvest.
Task Force Harvest was a 4,400-strong multinational force comprising personnel from 14 nations, including Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Turkey and the United Kingdom. The Canadian contingent consisted of about 200 Canadian Forces members, as follows:
From their camp west of Skopje, the Dragoons, with their Coyote reconnaissance vehicles, carried out observation, scouted routes and escorted convoys. They set up camp on August 31, and were ready to carry out their first mission, a convoy escort, on September 2. On October 1, 2001, when the NATO monitoring operation began, the Dragoons returned to Bosnia and their duties as part of Operation Palladium.
The Canadian contribution to the mission finally closed with the return of the last staff officer from Skopje at the end of September, 2002.
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|Publication Date: 2003-01-23||Important Notices|