Wednesday, 23 April 2014

ČSSD wants gov't to defend Mali mission in parliament

13 February 2013

Prague, Feb 12 (CTK) - The opposition Social Democrats want the centre-right government of Petr Necas (Civic Democrats, ODS) to defend the deployment of Czech troops in Mali within an EU mission in the lower house of parliament, shadow defence minister Jan Hamacek (CSSD) said yesterday.

Hamacek said the defence minister or Necas himself who is now entrusted with heading the ministry should defend the foreign mission in parliament.

He said the CSSD is prepared to support the Mali mission in parliament afterwards.

Hamacek also criticised Necas for not appointing a new defence minister.

The Defence Ministry has been without a proper head since late December when Necas dismissed Karolina Peake (LIDEM) from the post. Necas is temporarily in charge of the ministry.

The Czech government approved the Mali mission last week. Up to 50 Czech soldiers should train the local military for 15 months, but not fight the Islamists who dominate the northern part of the country. The costs, limited with 220 million crowns, will be covered by the Defence Ministry.

Necas is currently on holiday. He said previously he hoped that the parliament would decide on the Mali mission in March.

The EU decided on the Mali mission earlier, but the operation is only being prepared. It will be commended by French General Francois Lecointre.

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

($1=18.849 crowns)

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