VILNIUS – The Lithuanian parliament has on Tuesday voted in favor of increasing the country's contingent in NATO's non-combat training operation in Iraq to 50 troops.
The current mandate from the Seimas allows contributing up to 11 military and civil defense personnel to the mission.
Defense Minister Raimundas Karoblis said last month that Lithuania was considering sending more troops to Iraq in response to a request from Denmark which has taken over the leadership of the NATO Mission Iraq.
The minister said that Lithuanian troops would not be involved in combat action in Iraq, except for self-defense purposes.
"I'd like to underline that since we are speaking about Iraq, a rather risky zone, there are no plans for troops' participation in combat action," he said while presenting the bill to the Seimas.
The parliament also approved plans to send up to 20 troops to the EU military operation in the Mediterranean Sea Operation EUNAVFOR MED IRINI that is replacing Operation SOPHIA.
"In this operation, which replaced the previous Operation SOPHIA Lithuanian troops took active part in, the nature of participation does not change, i.e., in a group of ships with the German ship," the minister said.
The project was initiated by President Gitanas Nauseda and the Ministries of National Defense and Foreign Affairs.