NEWS BRIEFS

Slovakia to join NATO mission in Iraq

FIVE members of the Slovak Armed Forces are expected to join the NATO training mission in Iraq. The five Slovak army engineers are already taking part in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The Defence and Foreign Ministries are proposing an extension of the engineers' mandate, but both government and parliament have to approve it.

Slovakia is also offering educational training to Iraqi specialists in Iraq. In addition, the Defence Ministry is training members of the Iraqi military police in Slovakia and sending military police instructors to Iraq.

Members of the Iraqi security forces are taking junior staff officer courses (organized in cooperation with the education ministries of Great Britain and the Netherlands) in Liptovský Mikuláš (Žilina region).

The Defence Ministry is also analysing the possibility of providing Iraqi security forces with surplus equipment and weapons.

NATO approved Slovakia's involvement in training Iraqi security personnel at its summit last year in Istanbul, Turkey, after overcoming the doubts that France and other countries had concerning NATO's involvement in Iraq.

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