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Chief of staff visits Czech soldiers in Mali before Christmas

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Prague, Dec 6 (CTK) – Chief of staff Josef Becvar visited Czech soldiers in Mali on Saturday to appreciate their service and give them small presents before Christmas, General Staff spokesman Jan Sulc told CTK yesterday.
Becvar, along with the Defence Ministry representatives, gave them also pictures that children from Prague schools made for the soldiers serving in foreign missions, Sulc added.
“I have seen that you are one big, well tuned-up team. You are doing excellent work here that is also visible afterwards… I thank you for it and wish you all a safe return home,” Becvar told the 38 members of the Czech mission.
The Czech unit comprising 34 soldiers is to protect the EU operation´s command in the capital of Bamako. Four Czech instructors help train the Malian armed forces in the Koulikoro training camp.
Czech soldiers commanded by Captain Ondrej Marek will serve in Mali until March 2016 when they are replaced with another team.
The mission may be also reinforced, which would help France in the anti-terrorist fight.
Next year, 25 members of the Czech special forces are to be deployed in the north of Mali within a U.N. mission.
“They will be sent there in the first quarter of next year,” Becvar said.
Though Czech troops in Mali will fulfil the tasks even during the holiday season and they cannot enjoy a typical Christmas atmosphere in Africa, they will find time to decorate a Christmas tree and give presents to one another. They can get in touch with their families thanks to modern technologies, Sulc said.
“However, they say the true celebration will follow after their return home,” he added.

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