Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Gov't approves military's foreign priorities for 2017-2018

ČTK |
19 April 2016

Prague, April 18 (CTK) - The Czech government decided on Monday that NATO's collective defence, Afghanistan, Mali and fight against the Islamic State (IS) group are the four priorities of Czech military abroad in 2017-2018, Defence Minister Martin Stropnicky said on Twitter.

"The plan suggests the continuation of all previous foreign operations. The missions Resolute Support in Afghanistan and the EU and U.N. missions in Mali are priorities. In addition, we want to considerably contribute to the Rapid Response forces, which are basic mechanisms of NATO's collective defence," Stropnicky said last week.

The Defence Ministry is expected to spend almost 2.3 billion crowns on the deployment in the missions, which still need to be approved by the two houses of parliament.

The biggest unit is to operate again in Afghanistan. In 2017, the Czech army wants to have 270 soldiers there. Another 20 are to be designated as now for the protection of the Czech embassy in Kabul. The Czechs will continue with their focus on the protection of the allied forces and training of their Afghan counterparts.

The military is to send its second most numerous contingent to Mali, where a total of 60 persons are to serve. Like this year, most of them will make part of the EU training mission. Ten will work in the staffs of the Malian mission headed by the United Nations, chief of staff Josef Becvar has told CTK.

This year, too, there are Czech special units in Mali, but they will leave it by the end of the year.

The Balkans is a traditional place where Czech forces are deployed. Ten soldiers are to be in Bosnia and Herzegovina and two in Kosovo.

The Czech military also wants to stay in the Sinai where it sends 25 soldiers as well as a CASA C 295M transport plane and at the Golan Heights for which it offers up to five soldiers.

The Czech Republic will continue with its participation in EU naval operations, including its anti-pirate mission in the African Horn and the EU operations against migration in the Mediterranean. In both cases, the Czech Republic will send its experts to the command structures.

Some more hundreds of soldiers will be ready for possible rapid deployment within NATO and United Nations mission. Next year, 810 troops will be ready to be deployed the allied Rapid Response forces and further 200 troops will be prepared for a possible U.N. peace-keeping mission.

The Czech Republic will also take part in the struggle against IS.

The government recently approved the sending of an air force consultancy team to Iraq where our troops are to help train the local air force with the Czech-made L-159 training aircraft.

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