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Lower house approves foreign military missions for 2017-18

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Prague, June 29 (CTK) – The Czech lower house approved on Wednesday the plan of soldiers’ participation in foreign military missions in the next two years, including their deployment in Mali, Afghanistan and other countries, which is to cost 1.16 and 1.12 billion crowns in 2017 and 2018, respectively.

The Defence Ministry’s proposal still needs consent from the Senate, the upper house of parliament.

Defence Minister Martin Stropnicky (ANO) said the plan reflects the world developments and corresponds to the Czech Republic’s priorities and commitments as a member of the EU and NATO.

“All proposed operations are in harmony with international law,” he said.

The only political party to have voted against the proposal were the opposition Communists (KSCM). KSCM deputy Alexander Cerny criticised the plan as “rattling with weapons.”

The largest Czech contingent abroad is to continue operating in Afghanistan. It will contain up to 270 troops next year and up to 250 in 2018, and further 20 troops will be deployed to protect the Czech embassy in Kabul.

The second strongest contingent, comprised of up to 60 troops, will operate in Mali. Most of the soldiers will continue their participation in the EU training mission in Mali.

The Czechs also plan to continue their operation in Sinai, where up to 25 troops and a CASA plane will be deployed, and at the Golan Heights, where five soldiers might be sent.

Ten soldiers are to operate in Bosnia-Herzegovina and two in Kosovo.

The Czech Republic will also continue its participation in naval operations, i.e. the EU’s anti-pirate operation in the Horn of Africa area and the EU’s Mediterranean mission aimed to curb migration. In both cases, Prague will send experts to the command bodies.

Further 810 and 380 soldiers will be designated for possible rapid deployment within NATO operations in 2017 and 2018, respectively, and 200 soldiers for joining a possible U.N. peace operation.

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