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NEWS BRIEFS

Slovak parliament sends sapper battalion to Albania

Slovak parliamentary deputies approved June 1 a proposal to send a Slovak Army battalion to Albania under the NATO flag. Forty sapper soldiers, or army engineers trained particularly in the laying or disarming of mines, will go to Albania to assist with construction works, camp building, maintenance of highways and preparing landing places for helicopters for a four to six-week mission.

Out of 98 deputies, 68 voted in favor of sending the servicemen while 18 were against and 12 abstained from the voting.

The Cabinet affirmed that the presence of a Slovak sapper battalion flows from the country's foreign-political and security orientation and is an effort to draw closer with other NATO nations. They expect that the mission will have a positive impact on the NATO decision on Slovakia's eventual membership.

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