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On Wednesday, the Riigikogu extended the deployment of members of the Estonian Defence Forces in foreign missions and gave the mandate for deploying them in 2014 in international peace keeping missions in Lebanon, Israel, Egypt, Syria, Afghanistan and Kosovo.

In addition to this, the resolutions adopted by the Riigikogu on Wednesday also allow the deployment of members of the Estonian Defence Forces from 1 January until 31 December 2014 at the European Union training mission and the UN peace keeping mission in Mali as part of the NATO Response Force, as well as in the work of the international military headquarters of NATO or the European Union.

The Chairman of the National Defence Committee Mati Raidma declared before the Plenary Assembly that Afghanistan has been the biggest mission for Estonia and has also led to the most fatalities. “This has made us think long and hard about the values of security. After all, this was the mission that prompted us to initiate the veteran policy which is of critical importance. In a wider perspective, Afghanistan was important for NATO; and now the operative cooperation capacity of NATO is better than ever, which is important for us,” Raidma said.

Estonia will contribute with up to three members of the Defence Forces in the UN-led peace keeping mission in Lebanon, Israel, Egypt and Syria. Participants in this supervisory mission are unarmed. Up to 170 members of the Defence Forces can be used in the international peace keeping mission in Afghanistan as part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force. Members of the Defence Forces of Estonia will leave Afghanistan by autumn next year. The main Estonian unit – the infantry company – will be withdrawn in May and June 2014.

The time limits for the use of up to three members of the Defence Forces in the composition of the NATO-led Kosovo peace keeping force, the use of up to ten members of the Defence Forces in the European Union Training Mission in Mali and the use of up to two members of the Defence Forces in the UN Peacekeeping Mission in Mali will also be extended. The number of participants in the training mission in Mali will double compared to this year.

In addition, if necessary, the deployment of up to 40 members of the Defence Forces will be allowed in the performance of Estonia’s international duties as part of the NATO Response Force. Up to five members of the Defence Forces may be used in the work of the international military headquarters that would be set up in the operation area should NATO or the European Union launch a new international military operation.

The Riigikogu Press Service

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