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Estonia planning UN Lebanon mission

The government will this week debate a proposal by the Ministry of Defense to allow Estonian soldiers to serve in a UN-led mission in Lebanon this year.

The mission would involve a platoon-size force of up to 50 men and belong to a Finnish-Irish force as part of the UNIFIL mission.

“UN operations have been the smallest in capacity in the past few years, but as the NATO-led ISAF mission in Afghanistan is over, we have more resources and interest in actively participating in UN-led missions,” Defense Minister Sven Mikser said.

If approved by the government and Parliament, Estonia could dispatch the first six-month rotation already in spring.

Mikser said the mission in Lebanon began 40 years ago and currently there are 10,000 peacekeepers from 40 nations. The Finnish-Irish force is based near the Israeli border.

Head of the Defense Forces, Maj. Gen. Riho Terras, said that every mission is dangerous but the rules are different from Afghanistan. He said the greatest danger in Lebanon would be get in the middle of a firefight between the two sides.

Editor: J.M. Laats

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