Germany, France help Western Balkans get rid of illicit arms

September 20, 2018 GMT

TIRANA, Albania (AP) — Germany and France have launched a project fighting illicit firearms trafficking in the Western Balkans as part of preparations for those nations to seek European Union membership.

International officials held a meeting on the arms project Thursday in the Albanian capital of Tirana.

The project aims at getting under control the estimated 4 million to 6 million small firearms spread across the six Western Balkan countries. Some of the weapons have been used in attacks like the Paris 2015 massacre that left 130 dead while others have flowed into organized crime.

German official Marcus Bleinroth said “the time has come to disarm.”

Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Kosovo and Bosnia-Herzegovina are at different stages in the process of joining the EU. Each has a plan to get rid of illegal weapons with EU help.