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IN SHORT

Ministry requests Iraqi mandate expansion

THE DEFENCE Ministry wants the mandate of the unit of Slovak military engineers operating within the US-led Iraqi Freedom operation to be expanded.

The Slovak soldiers are expected to train members of the Iraqi security forces in clearing mines and decommissioning large munitions, the TASR news wire wrote.

The ministry also wants the unit to provide protection for other coalition forces, including the training mission operating under NATO.

The Slovak corps of engineers - sappers - will protect soldiers during their performance of special tasks, training sessions, as well as on special convoys.

The mandate of the Slovak contingent within the NATO training mission should be expanded to include all of Iraq. Both the Slovak cabinet and parliament have to approve the changes.

The ministry does not plan to increase the number of soldiers operating in Iraq, as the mandate is restricted to 110 soldiers.

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