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Minister: Thousands of Czech troops can be sent to refugee camps

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Prague, Sept 20 (CTK) – The Czech military can send thousands of soldiers to the refugee camps around Syria if need be, Defence Minister Martin Stropnicky (ANO) said in the Questions of Vaclav Moravec debate on Czech Television CT) Sunday.

He added that the soldiers’ deployment in the Middle East would not affect security of the Czech Republic.

Czech soldiers should help wit the registration of refugees, logistics and supplies.

Stropnicky said the Czech military can deploy even considerably more than 2500 soldiers that Chief-of-Staff Josef Becvar mentioned during the NATO Days event in Mosnov, north Moravia, on Saturday.

“If need be, they (troops) will be simply available,” Stropnicky said.

The total number of Czech soldiers deployed both in the Czech Republic and abroad can be more than twice higher, that is over 5000, he added.

“We are immediately prepared to deploy 900 soldiers in a fairly short time, within about 48 hours, to help the police of the Czech Republic,” Becvar said on Saturday.

The military is able to provide up to 2500 soldiers, he said.

However, Stropnicky stressed Sunday that the provision of security in the Czech Republic remained the main priority.

Soldiers should help the police or possibly assist in the protection of refugee camps, he noted.

The European Union should coordinate the deployment of the military and all member states should be involved in it, Stropnicky said.

In relation to the capacity of the Czech military, Stropnicky also mentioned an amendment to the defence law that MPs would debate at the lower house session in October. It includes some measures to increase the number of active reservists.

The introduction of voluntary reserves should also improve the situation. “You will be able to enroll voluntarily, no mater if you are a man or a woman,” Stropnicky said.

He recalled that general conscription is still valid in the Czech Republic. However, he added that he would not expect it to be applied over the problems with migrants.

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