CzechRep considering sending troops to Golan Heights


29.08.2014 17:03

Prague - The Czech Republic is considering sending its military contingent to the Golan Heights this year, Defence Minister Martin Stropnicky (ANO) told reporters today.


Ilustrační foto - Izraelské tanky na golanských výšinách. ČTK/AP Ariel Schalit

There might be a vacant place in the mission in October since the Philippine military is considering withdrawing its troops.

President Milos Zeman has long supported the deployment of Czech soldiers in the Golan Heights.

Stropnicky said he would like to discuss it with Zeman whether the Czech Republic would really offer its troops for the mission.

"I would not rule it out," Stropnicky added.

However, he is not sure whether the Czech Republic will be able to prepare the contingent so quickly, he noted.

Its deployment would have to be approved by the government first.

According to CTK information, the military has a reserved stance on this possibility, among others for financial reasons. If it nodded to it, it would like to have the main say in the mission.

In other words, the Czech military would like to be in charge of the mission, Stropnicky said.

At present, the Irish military is commanding the mission in the Golan Heights.

In the past, the Czech Republic offered to send about 150 soldiers to the Golan Heights where international observers have been operating since 1974. Czechs were originally not to join the peacekeeping mission in the area between Syria and Israel before 2015.

The situation of the peacekeeping forces in the Golan Heights has considerably worsened due to the conflict in Syria and U.N. troops have been taken hostage by the Syrian armed opposition three times.

Czechs participate in several foreign missions now.

The strongest contingent of 300 men is operating in Afghanistan. The Czech Republic has also an approved mandate of up to 50 soldiers in Mali, but their real number is slightly fewer there.

Fourteen Czech soldiers are serving in the observer mission on the Sinai Peninsula to watch the observance of security conditions of the peace agreement between Egypt and Israel.

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