Latvia to up troop numbers in UN's Mali mission

Latvia is planning on extending its participation in the United Nations led stabilization mission in Mali called Minusma, as well as increasing the number of soldiers participating in this operation, reported LETA Tuesday.

This matter was discussed during a Saeima Defense, Internal Affairs and Corruption Prevention Committee meeting today. Defense Minister Raimonds Bergmanis (Greens/Farmers) had requested the committee on extending the mandate for participating in this mission, which ends in June.

''We will request parliament to extend the mandate, that is why we must agree on this with the committee. In any case, we also plan on increasing the number of soldiers participating in this mission,'' the minister said, but did not go into any more detail.

Latvian soldiers have been participating in international operations in Mali since 2013. At the moment, seven National Armed Forces soldiers participate in the European Union Training Mission, and one soldier in the UN stabilization mission in Mali.

When previously extending the mandate, the Ministry of Defense stressed that Latvian soldiers are not to participate in combat operations.

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