RIGA – Today, Saeima approved National Armed Forces’ participation in the European Union's training mission to Mali, reports LETA.
In February, the participation of Latvian soldiers in the EU mission to help train the Malian armed forces was also approved by the government.
The Defense Ministry will now request the necessary funds from Cabinet of Ministers' emergency funds.
Defense Minister Artis Pabriks' (Unity) press secretary Inga Saleniece previously told LETA that the ministry would request 90,600 lats (128,913 euros) for the mission. It is currently estimated that Latvian officers will work in Mali until the end of the year.
Defense Minister Artis Pabriks told LETA that the participation of Latvian soldiers in the Mali mission will be quite different when compared to the military operation in Afghanistan, as the soldiers are not expected in battle operations. Only several officers will be sent to help assist in training the local armed forces.
LETA also reported, 78 percent of economically-active Latvian residents believe that Latvia should not send troops to Mali, according to a survey carried out by the market, social and media research company "TNS Latvia" and the LNT television channel. Only 15 percent approve of sending Latvian soldiers to Mali.