TALLINN - The Estonian Ministry of Defense wants to send Estonian officers to the US-led security mission in the Strait of Hormuz in the Middle East, the English-language news portal of public broadcaster ERR reports.
Pursuant to the draft decision submitted to the parliament, Estonia would contribute up to five members of the Estonian defense forces to Operation Sentinel.
"The US government contacted us with the proposal to participate in this mission," Minister of Defense Juri Luik said, according to ERR News.
"This is an important mission in the defense of international law and maritime freedom, and as our ally invited us, then we reviewed our resources, assessed our opportunities and consulted with the United Kingdom, another country participating in this mission," he added.
Luik noted that Estonia will likely initially send just one officer, who will serve with the British unit at the operation's headquarters in Bahrain.
The minister noted that one issue for Estonia right now is the fact that a status of forces agreement (SOFA) has not yet been concluded with Bahrain, which would grant Estonian officers diplomat status, ensuring that they would not be subject to the local judicial system. He noted, however, that consultations with Bahrain are already underway, ERR News reports.