Estonian unit headed to Lebanon completes pre-mission training
ESTPLA-22, the next Estonian infantry platoon preparing for the UNIFIL peacekeeping mission in Lebanon, has completed its pre-mission training in Finland.
For the past two weeks, members of the Estonian Defence Forces trained in Finland to improve previously learned skills while Estonian staff officers completed training on cooperation with their Finnish and Irish counterparts, military spokespeople in Tallinn said.
"We got a strong grounding in Estonia and we supplemented it with additional details in Finland," Lt. Virko Luide, chief of ESTPLA-22, said, adding that the contingent was now ready for the mission in Lebanon.
Luide added that the training completed in Finland demonstrated that every member of the Estonian contingent was well-trained.
The Ministry of Defence introduced a bill in October to extended Estonian participation in the UN's peacekeeping mission in Lebanon, United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), by one year. The UNIFIL mission is also slated to be the Estonian Defence Forces' largest international mission in 2017 as well.
According to the bill, the participation of up to 50 personnel from Estonia in the Lebanon mission will be extended from Jan.1 to Dec. 31, 2017. The size of the Estonian contingent on the UNIFIL mission may be temporarily increased to 100 active service personnel for a period of no more than one month.
Estonian military have been participating in the UNIFIL mission since spring 2015. The Estonian contingent currently in Lebanon, ESTPLA-21, is made up mainly of members of the B Company of the professional Scouts Battalion and serves there as part of a Finnish-Irish battalion.
Altogether 40 countries are contributing to UNIFIL. ESTPLA-21 is the fourth rotation of Estonian infantry to participate in the UNIFIL mission.