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EU warns of no-deal Brexit impact on peacekeeping mission in Bosnia

The U.K. plays a key role in Operation Althea, the EU's peacekeeping mission based in Sarajevo | Adam Berry/AFP via Getty Images

EU warns of no-deal Brexit impact on peacekeeping mission in Bosnia

The UK currently provides ‘most of the capabilities’ of the mission, diplomats say.

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4/4/19, 8:15 PM CET

Updated 4/4/19, 11:21 PM CET

A no-deal Brexit could have “significant implications” on an EU-led military operation in Bosnia, European diplomats have warned.

The U.K. plays a key role in Operation Althea, the European Union’s peacekeeping mission based in Sarajevo, but might have to withdraw abruptly from the deployment in case of a no-deal departure.

Helga Schmid, secretary-general of the European External Action Service (EEAS) — the bloc’s diplomatic body — raised alarm over the potential impact of a no-deal on Operation Althea during a meeting of EU ambassadors on Wednesday, one diplomat said.

A second diplomat said that there was “strong concern” about what would happen to Althea if EU27 member countries did not act quickly to fill the gap in the event of the U.K.’s disorderly departure.

Launched in December 2004, Althea is an EU-led military operation tasked with implementing the Dayton Agreement, the peace accord that put an end to the 1992-95 Bosnian War. It also provides training to the Bosnian armed forces.

The U.K. currently provides “most of the capabilities” in terms of military force and intelligence, a third diplomat said.

At Wednesday’s meeting, the EEAS said no solution has been found so far, adding that at this stage it would be “difficult to ensure Althea’s operational conditions without relying on an interim agreement”

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