The joint NATO-WEU Operation SHARP GUARD began on 15 June 1993 to replace the separate NATO and WEU operations MARITIME GUARD and SHARP FENCE; the operation was suspended on 19 June 1996 and terminated following a United Nations Security Council resolution adopted on 1 October 1996.
For more than three years NATO and WEU effectively enforced both economic sanctions and an arms embargo. This helped contain the conflict in the former Yugoslavia and create the conditions for the Peace Agreement for Bosnia and Herzegovina. During Sharp Guard no ships were reported as having broken the embargo. To achieve this result, during the period 22 November 1992 to 18 June 1996 about 74,000 ships were challenged, almost 6,000 were inspected at sea and more than 1400 were diverted and inspected in port. The Netherlands participated with two Maritime Patrol Aircraft (P3C) who operated from Naval Air Station Sigonella at Sicily. WEU operations were limited to Gulf and former Yougoslavia. From 2001 EU has taken over mandate
The medal issued originally has a brace as suspension and a clasp "former yougoslavia".