Friday, 25 April 2014

ČR may send 30 instructors to Mali

1 February 2013

Brussels, Jan 31 (CTK) - The Czech Republic can send some 30 instructors to Mali where the local military along with French units is fighting against Islamists who still dominate the north part of the country, Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg told journalists today.

They are to operate within the planned mission, Schwarzenberg said.

He was discussing the situation in Mali along with other EU ministers.

The decision on the affair has not been made.

The EU decided on the mission earlier, but the operation is only being prepared.

French General Francois Lecointre, who will command the mission, would like to send the first troops to Mali in mid-February.

They are to contribute to the cooperation with the Mali military command and rapid reorganisation of the local units.

Officially, the mission may start on February 12 or 18.

The mission is to be fully deployed in April, Schwarzeberg said, adding that by that time the Czech Republic should decide on its contribution.

The government is considering arming a battalion of the Malian army and sending the instructors.

"We reckon with both," Schwarzenberg said, adding that he waited for the Defence Ministry's specific proposal.

The Czech government is considering equipping and training a Malian army battalion within the EU's operation in the conflict-stricken Mali, Prime Minister Petr Necas said on Wednesday, adding that Prague is negotiating in this respect mainly with France.

Sending military instructors to Mali would require the consent of not only the Czech government but also parliament, Necas (Civic Democrats, ODS) told journalists after the cabinet meeting.

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