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Military gains mandate for foreign missions in 2017-18

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Prague, July 14 (CTK) – The Czech Senate approved on Thursday a two-year mandate for soldiers’ foreign missions, which the Chamber of Deputies supported previously and which will allow the military’s continued operation in Afghanistan, Mali and elsewhere.

The Defence Ministry supposes the missions to cost some 1.16 billion crowns next year and 1.12 billion in 2018.

The existing mandate of the Czech armed forces will expire at the end of the year.

Defence Minister Martin Stropnicky said all operations are in consistence with international law and that the mandate is based on the priorities of the country, its commitments within the EU and NATO and the developments in the world.

The biggest unit will again be deployed in Afghanistan, where up to 270 soldiers will operate in 2017. In 2018, the number will be cut by 20.

Another 20 soldiers and military police officers will protect the Czech embassy in Kabul.

The second strongest contingent will be sent to Mali where up to 60 Czechs will operate. Like this year, most of them will be part of the EU training mission.

The Czech military wants to continue to operate in Sinai where it is sending up to 25 soldiers and a CASA C 295M aircraft, and on the Golan Heights where it offers five soldiers.

The Balkans is a traditional place of operation of Czech armed forces. According to the proposed plan, ten soldiers will operate in Bosnia anhd Herzegovina and two in Kosovo.

The Czech Republic will also continue to operate within EU naval operations, or the counter-pirate operation in the Horn of Africa and in the operation aimed to restrict migration in the Mediterranean. In both cases, the Czech military will send experts to commanding structures.

Further hundreds of soldiers will be designated for possible quick deployment within NATO and U.N. operations. As many as 810 soldiers will be put on put on standby for NATO Response Force next year and 380 in 2018.

Another 200 will be ready to join possible U.N. operations, a decision on which would be made separately.

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