Canada is a significant contributor to the NATO mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina known as the Stabilization Force, or SFOR. Canadian troops first came to the Balkans in February 1992 as part of the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR), which was formed to protect non-combatants during the wars that tore apart the former Republic of Yugoslavia. With the signing on December 14, 1995, of the General Framework Agreement for Peace at Paris, after negotiations conducted at Dayton, Ohio, NATO entered Bosnia-Herzegovina with the 60,000-strong Implementation Force (IFOR) to ensure that the belligerent parties complied with its terms.
SFOR (as the NATO force became known in 1996) is part of a major international effort to help Bosnia-Herzegovina reshape itself as a democratic European nation. The SFOR mission is to deter or respond to violence and, thus, provide the safe and secure environment necessary for the consolidation of peace in Bosnia-Herzegovina, with the goal of promoting a climate in which the peace process can make progress without the presence of NATO forces. Specifically, SFOR troops patrol so people can go about their daily business without fear.
On December 2, 2003, NATO confirmed that the security situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina had improved so much that the strength of SFOR will be reduced from 12, 000 to 7, 000 troops by June 2004. In line with other NATO members contributing troops to SFOR, Canada has reduced its commitment proportionately: TFBH now comprises about 650 CF members and 185 Canadian civilians.
The overall Canadian contribution to SFOR is called Operation PALLADIUM . Each CF unit deployed on Op PALLADIUM serves a six-month tour, and each turnover is called a rotation, or "Roto". The current rotation, which took the field in April 2004, is the fourteenth, and is therefore referred to as "Roto 14". The total Canadian contingent in SFOR is known as Task Force Bosnia-Herzegovina (TFBH), and its headquarters and support base are co-located at Camp Black Bear in Velika Kladusa, a town in north-western Bosnia-Herzegovina near the Croatian border.
TFBH forms a part of Multinational Brigade Northwest, headquartered at Banja Luka, which also has Dutch and British contingents. The three nations take turns providing the Brigade's commanding officer, and the current Brigade Commander is Brigadier-General Stuart Beare of the Canadian Forces.
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