Anti-Islamic State fighters could be trained in Latvia: Defense Minister

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Soldiers that are fighting against the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group in Iraq and Syria might be trained in Latvia, Defense Minister Raimonds Bergmanis told the BNS newswire on November 7.

The form of Latvia's participation in the fight against IS is currently being negotiated in talks, Bergmanis said.

"I do not think that this will be any kind of combat-related activity. We might rather help with some training and advice. Perhaps we will invite some troops and train them here," Bergmanis said.

Latvia is currently considering various options for its contribution to the fight against IS, Bergmanis explained.

"We are providing humanitarian assistance, we have paid our financial contributions to the [relevant] funds. We have also helped a lot with our know-how. We have very good training system, which has been internationally appreciated," Bergmanis said, naming a military instructor's school in Cesis, northern Latvia, as an example.

Latvian troops’ involvement in combat operations is not being considered, Bergmanis said.

A US-led international coalition has set up the Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF–OIR) to coordinate military efforts against the Islamic State.

Latvia is one of the 62 countries which have joined the coalition, but only about 20 countries provide military support and 12 participate in coalition air strikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. So far Latvia’s contribution to the coalition had been in the form of humanitarian aid.

The approval of the Latvian parliament is required for the participation of units of the Latvian National Armed Forces in international operations.

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