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Georgia to send military instructors to Mali

by | Mar 19, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia is considering taking part in military operations held under the auspices of the European Union.

First Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Davit Zalkaliani Monday informed the media about planned activities of the ministry.

He said that Georgia is actively reviewing the issue of participating in military operations led by the EU.

Defense Minister Irakli Alasania said a few days ago that for the first time in history Georgia will participate in military operations led by the EU.

The last few years, Georgia has had aspirations to become a member of the EU and NATO. The Georgian population supported this policy in a plebiscite in 2008.

Georgia is currently actively participating in NATO operations and it is the largest non-member contributor to NATO’s ISAF operations in Afghanistan.

Zalkaliani on Monday explained that Georgia’s participation in EU’s military operations won’t be in the form of troops or military units.

Later on Monday, the Defense Ministry said Georgia has agreed to take part in an EU led mission in Mali. The details of the mission are still unknown.

“We discussed this proposal and made a political decision that it is in Georgia’s vital interest to get closer to Europe, the EU and also defense and security structures,” Irakli Alasania explains.

There are ongoing negotiations with the EU and its defense structures about in which form Georgia will participate in the Mali mission.

Georgia received a proposal from EU’s foreign policy spokesperson Catherine Ashton in the end of 2012 when she visited Georgia.

“Troops from 16 EU countries and Norway are taking part in the Mali mission. Currently, 500 persons, including military instructors, medics and rescue servicemen, and 70 military personnel, are deployed in the capital Bamako,” the defense ministry informs.



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