published: 30.01.2013, 11:57 | updated: 30.01.2013 11:58:26
Prague - The Czech government is considering equipping and training a Malian army battalion within the EU´s operation in the conflict-stricken Mali, Prime Minister Petr Necas said today, adding that Prague is negotiating in this respect mainly with France.
Sending military instructors to Mali would require the consent of not only the Czech government but also parliament, Necas (Civic Democrats, ODS) told journalists after the cabinet meeting.
He said the Foreign Ministry will send another three million crowns to Mali in humanitarian aid.
"Everything is only being prepared for now," Necas emphasised.
He said Prague is ready to discuss its joining the EU operation if it is launched in Mali.
Prague is considering providing military equipment, mainly fire arms and ammunition it has at its disposal.
"Probably the most reasonable solution would be to concentrate these capacities, for example, to equip a unit of a battalion´s size...and secure its training," Necas said.
The Defence and Foreign Ministries are to work out the relevant plan in the next week or two, he said.
France, whose soldiers help the Malian army combat Islamist militias in the north of the country, has reinforced its contingent there to 1400 troops. It is ready to send up to 2500 soldiers to Mali, where the rebels have started penetrating southwards.
Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg has approved the humanitarian aid of three million crowns for Malian refugees from the conflict-stricken region that will be provided to Mali via the International Red Cross.
Hundreds of soldiers from other African states are heading for Mali in order to intervene in accordance with the U.N. Security Council´s resolution.
The EU has agreed on sending in officers to help train the Malian army.
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