Participation in International operations

08.01.2015. 16:06

The European Union has a significant role in resolving international crises. Under the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), the European Union has successfully implemented and is implementing a number of civilian and military missions, also with participation of Latvian representatives. Six Latvian civilian experts are currently working in EU’s civilian missions: three in Afghanistan (EU Police Mission - EUPOL Afghanistan), two in Georgia (EU Monitoring Mission - EUMM Georgia), and one in Kosovo (EU Rule of Law Mission - EULEX Kosovo). A number of Latvian National Armed Forces personnel take part in the EU Naval Force operation ATALANTA, which ensures protection against pirate attacks to vessels off the Somali coast. 

Military operations

EU Civilian missions

Military Operations

Security today has a global character; therefore, the geographic distance no longer serves as a shield protecting us from conflicts in other, more remote world’s regions.

 

AFGHANISTAN

(ISAF - International Security Assistance Force)

The operation in Afghanistan is one of the most important NATO operations. The operation in Afghanistan was the first in the history of the Alliance to take place outside the traditional zone of NATO responsibility, namely the Euro-Atlantic space. The international coalition of states holds the UN Security Council mandate which was granted under the UN Security Council’s Resolution No. 1890. The ISAF provides assistance for the Afghanistan’s government, the newly established army and the police in order to ensure security in the country.

The ISAF operation began in December 2001. The ISAF operation in Afghanistan was initiated by the U.S., but on 11 August 2003, NATO took over the strategic command of the operation. ISAF is composed of 102,550 troops from 42 countries (28 NATO Member Countries and 18 other countries). 26 Provincial Reconstruction Teams are also operational.

The Latvian National Armed Forces (NAF) have participated in the ISAF mission since February 2003. To date there are 175 Latvian military personnel serving in the ISAF mission in Afghanistan. On 7 November, 2008, the Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team was sent to the provinces of Kunar and Nurestan in Eastern Afghanistan. This group’s task is to train the soldiers of the Afghan National Army and to participate with them in the ISAF operations.

In support of a comprehensive approach to Afghanistan’s reconstruction, a Political and Development Advisor of the Foreign Ministry of Latvia was staying in Faryab Province from 21 August 2007 to 25 March 2009 and was co-ordinating the Latvian government’s development projects.

Latvia has provided significant support for the development of the rule of law in Faryab Province and of its infrastructure. During the period of 2008-2009, Latvia contributed with LVL 569,367 towards the implementation of development co-operation projects. Some of the most successful projects that have been carried out are as follows: the water collection and supply project launched in May 2008, thus providing around 4800 inhabitants with drinking water; a newly opened police station in February 2009; the project of building three court houses and the training of judges and prosecutors in summer 2009.

The Saeima has extended the participation of the Latvian troops in NATO-led operations in Afghanistan until 13 October 2010.

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NATO OPERATION IN KOSOVO

(KFOR – Kosovo Force)

The mission was initiated under NATO command on 12 June 1999. To date, the KFOR is composed of around 8000 personnel who continue to maintain a secure environment in all the territory of Kosovo. In case of necessity, the KFOR is ready to support Kosovo’s Police and the EU Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo – EULEX KOSOVO.

Following the NATO Security Council’s decision, the KFOR was gradually downsized to 10,000 soldiers at the beginning of 2010. This decision was taken after the evaluation of the security situation in Kosovo and the capabilities of the Kosovo Police and the EU mission to assume responsibility and control over the security situation in the country in case of emergency. As the security situation in Kosovo remains peaceful and the Kosovo Security Force capabilities are increasing, NATO intends to further downsize its personnel during this year.

At the same time NATO is contributing substantially to the formation of the Ministry of the Kosovo Security Force and to the formation and training of the Kosovo Security Force. A special Trust Foundation provides financial aid in order to carry out these activities. A NATO-supported professional development programme has been carried out for those defence corps in Kosovo, which were not integrated within the newly formed security forces.

Taking into consideration a gradual stabilization of the security situation in Kosovo and a plan to deploy maximum capabilities into the NATO operations in Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Latvia has decided to terminate participation in the Kosovo operation. Seventeen Latvian military personnel were assigned to the KFOR operation until 17 August 2009. At present, two officials from the Defence Ministry of Latvia take part in the work of the NATO Advisory Team in Kosovo providing support to the development of the Ministry of the Kosovo Security Force.

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NATO UNIFIED PROTECTOR OPERATION IN LIBYA

The resolution 1973 adopted by the UN Security Council on 17 March 2011 demanded an immediate ceasefire and the provision of security for civilians. In order to meet these demands, NATO launched the Unified Protector Operation in Libya on 27 March by taking control over the implementation of the military aspects of the resolution with the aim of protecting Libyan civilians and civilian-populated areas from military attacks. The task of the NATO operation was to carry out Libyan air policing to ensure the imposition of a no-fly zone mandated by the UN resolution, as well as enforcing the arms embargo. Regional organizations and a number of partner countries including Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Morocco and Sweden, who participated in the operation with their own forces, expressed their support for this operation.

In view of the developments in Libya and the success of rebel military forces that resulted in the collapse of the Gaddafi regime, the UN Security Council adopted a new resolution on 27 October 2011 stating that the previous mandate for the protection of Libyan civilians has been carried out.

On 28 October 2011, NATO member countries decided to end the NATO operation in Libya on 31 October because the aim set by the UN resolution 1973 has been achieved - the situation in Libya has become more stable, and a systematic and substantial danger to Libyan civilians has been eliminated.This decision was adopted in consultation with the UN and the National Transitional Council of Libya.

In future, the renewal of Libya and strengthening its democracy requires an active support from international society, the UN and the European Union. Latvia as a Member State of the EU and the UN will strive to support these processes within the limits of its possibilities.

 

NATO-LED MARITIME OPERATION

(OCEAN SHIELD)

NATO engaged in counter-piracy efforts off the coast of Somalia in 2008 by deploying the first group of ships in the region with the tasks of patrolling and escorting. In March 2010 NATO member countries agreed on extending the mandate for the counter-piracy operation off Somalia, OCEAN SHIELD, until 2012. Patrolling and escorting of ships within OCEAN SHIELD is currently carried out by vessels from the Netherlands, Denmark, Turkey and the USA.

 

IRAQ

(OIFOperation Iraqi Freedom)

Latvia participated in the Multi-National Force Military Operation in Iraq from 1 May 2003 to 7 November 2008. Within more than 5 years, the National Armed Forces of Latvia (NAF) have completed their mission: they have assisted the new Iraqi government and the newly formed security forces to take over responsibility and ensure security and order in Iraq. Since October 2006, the responsibility for the Diwaniyah region, where the Latvian troops were serving, has been gradually assumed by the Iraqi government, the armed forces, and the police and thus, in June 2007, Latvia started downsizing its military contingent in Iraq. In total 16 Provincial Reconstruction Teams are working in Iraq as part of the mission.

Links:

Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Latvia website: http://www.mod.gov.lv/en.aspx

Multi-National Force-Iraq website: http://www.mnf-iraq.com

 

NATO security forces training missions

 

NATO TRAINING MISSION IN AFGHANISTAN

(NTM-A – NATO Training Mission in Afghanistan)

In October 2009, the NATO Training Mission in Afghanistan was formed in order to train the Afghan National Security Forces, namely, the army and the police. The mission is gradually expanding the number of operational Advisory Groups and co-operation groups which provide training for the army and the police.

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NATO TRAINING MISSION IN IRAQ

(NTIM-I – NATO Training Implementation Mission Iraq)

The NATO mission NTIM-I was initiated after the Alliance’s Summit in Istanbul in late 2004; and, within the framework of the mission, the first training round for the Iraqi security forces was carried out. The aim of the mission is to provide assistance to Iraq, in particular, to provide in- and out-of-country training to the mid- to senior level officers of the country's security forces, and to deliver donated military equipment. Training costs are covered from the joint NATO budget. Travel and accommodation costs for trainees and lecturers are covered from a special NTM-I Trust Fund which receives contributions from the Member Countries. On 26 July 2009, NATO and the government of the Republic of Iraq signed a long-term agreement regarding the training of the Iraqi Security Forces.

Latvia has expressed its support in providing assistance to the Iraqi government. During the NATO Training Programme in 2005, Latvia delivered military equipment and weapons to the Iraq’s security forces (small arms, mortars, and ammunition). Latvia has made payments to the NTIM-I Fund both in 2005 and in 2006. During summer 2006, two Iraqi specialists in neutralising unexploded ordnance underwent training in Ādaži, Latvia.

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EU military operations

IN BOSNIA UN HERZEGOVINA

(EUFOR ALTHEA)

The ALTHEA operation was launched on 2 December 2004 when the EU took over from the NATO-led Stabilisation Force (NATO SFOR) operation, thus replacing NATO-led troops by EU-led forces, EUFOR.

During the operation, the EU forces are assigned to provide and maintain a stable and safe environment in the country and, in support of the EU Special Representative's Implementation Plan for the mission, to help fighting organised crime and to support the stabilisation and association process thus promoting the country’s readiness for integration within the Euro-Atlantic structures.

Latvia was involved in the operation in Bosnia–Herzegovina from April 1996 to October 2009. To date, according to the EC Decision 2008/975/CFSP of 18 December 2008, which established a mechanism of administrating the financing of the common costs of the EU operations with military or defence implications (Athena), Latvia contributes financially to the joint budget of the operation.

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EU NAVAL FORCE COUNTER-PIRACY OPERATION AT THE SOMALI COAST

(EU NAVFOR ATALANTA)

The EU’s first Naval Force operation, EU NAVFOR ATALANTA, was initiated under the EU Council’s decision of 8 December 2008 No. 2008/918/CFSP. Supporting the implementation of the UN Security Council Resolutions 1814 (2008), 1816 (2008), 1838 (2008), 1846 (2008), and 1897 (2009), the ATALANTA assists the World Food Programme’s vessels which deliver humanitarian aid shipments to Somalia, as well as other unprotected vessels located off the Somali coast, thus countering piracy threat. On 8 December 2009, the EU Council extended the operation’s mandate until 12 December 2010.

In accordance with the ATHENA financial mechanism, Latvia contributes financially to the joint budget of the operation. On 2 September 2010, the Saeima (Parliament) took a decision to assign to the EU military operation ATALNTA a unit of the National Armed Forces of Latvia. In partnership with France and Luxembourg a number of NAF officers are to take part in the operation in 2011.

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EU MILITARY MISSION TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE TRAINING OF SOMALI SECURITY FORCES

(EUTM Somalia)

In 2009, the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia notified about the necessity to improve the capabilities of the Somali security forces in order to stabilise the security situation in the country. 5,000 military personnel are required in order to accomplish this task. 3,000 troops are already being trained with support from Burundi, Uganda, Djibouti, and France.

In January 2010, the EU Council decided to participate in the training of the Somali security forces by deploying a 150-strong military mission in Uganda.

According to the EU Council Decision of 18 December 2008 No. 2008/975/CFSP establishing a mechanism to administer the financing of the common costs of European Union operations having military or defence implications (Athena), Latvia contributes to the joint budget of the operation but is not engaged in the operation with its military contingent.

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EU Civilian Missions

 

RULE OF LAW MISSION IN KOSOVO

(EULEX Kosovo)

The EU Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo was initiated on 16 February 2010. To date this Mission has been the largest EU Common Security and Defence Policy Mission with participation of international civilian experts. The aim of the mission is to strengthen the rule of law in Kosovo and to provide assistance to Kosovo institutions in consolidating a joint judiciary system and setting up a customs structure. On 8 June 2010, the mandate for the EU Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo was extended mission until 14 June 2012.

Latvian civilian experts joined the mission in April 2008 and until now a total of 10 Latvian civilian experts have participated: nine of them were from the Ministry of Interior of Latvia (four officials from the State Police, two officials from the State Border Guard, three dog handlers from the State Border Guard with service dogs, and one expert from the Foreign Ministry of Latvia.

Currently working in the EULEX Kosovo Mission is one Latvian boarder guard officer dog handler with a service dog trained in explosives and drugs detection, and guarding people.

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MONITORING MISSION IN GEORGIA

(EUMM Georgia)

The EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia was initiated on 1 October 2008. This mission’s task is to monitor the activities by the parties to the conflict and their compliance with the six point agreement in the whole territory of Georgia, including South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The mission’s mandate has been currently extended until 14 September 2010.

Three observers from the Ministry of Interior of Latvia participated in the early stages of the mission. One civilian expert from the Foreign Ministry of Latvia also participated in the preparation of the mission. From 3 September to 30 November 2008, this expert served in the EU Crisis Response Team. From 1 February 2009, working in Georgia are two civilian experts: one State Border Guard official, stationed in Gori, near South Ossetia, and one State Police staff member acting as Liaison Officer for co-operating with the Foreign Ministry of Georgia.

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POLICE MISSION IN AFGHANISTAN

(EUPOL Afghanistan)

The EU Police Mission in Afghanistan was deployed on the grounds on 15 June 2007. The aim of the mission is to assist Afghanistan’s government in implementing reforms in the security sector thus expanding and increasing the Afghan Government’s administrative capacity and the rule of law all over the country.

The mission’s mandate is effective until 31 May, 2013.

From November 2007 to June 2008, one Latvian expert from the Ministry of Interior served at the Headquarters of the EUPOL Afghanistan in Kabul. The Latvian expert’s duty was to contribute to personnel reforms in the Afghan National Police.

As from 27 January 2009, two police officers have joined the EUPOL Afghanistan. They are positioned within the Provincial Restoration Unit of Maymana. Both Latvian police officers had served in Afghanistan already before joining the mission.

Latvia intends to maintain its participation in the EUPOL Afghanistan Mission at least at the current level.

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INTEGRATED RULE OF LAW MISSION FOR IRAQ

(EUJUST LEX)

In 2004, the EU committed to provide its contribution to improving political, economic and security situation in Iraq. Since security is the main priority to enable any possible development in Iraq, the EU Council of Foreign Ministers on 21 February 2005 decided to undertake an EU Integrated Rule of Law Mission in Iraq (EUJUST LEX). The Mission was launched on 1 July 2005 with the aim of facilitating a closer co-operation among various institutions of the judicial system, and training Iraqi experts in the areas of criminal law and human rights. During the mission, senior officials from Iraq’s judiciary, police and prison administration are being trained. Training courses are held in the following areas: human rights, management and leadership, law and order, police control, investigation management, co-operation among institutions of the judiciary, and some other specific areas.

Latvia has expressed political support to the transformation process in Iraq and emphasised that the international community should actively involve in various assistance programmes. Latvia contributed to the EUJUST LEX mission in 2006 by providing one expert-lecturer on human rights issues who participated in two training courses. In 2007, Latvia took part in the mission with two lecturers-experts in human rights and police work. Both times the courses were held in Denmark.

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EUROPEAN UNION POLICE MISSION FOR THE PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES

(EUPOL COPPS)

The Police Mission for the Palestinian Territories began on 1 January 2006. The mission provides support in the establishment of sustainable and effective policing arrangements and in the criminal justice sector. The Mission’s mandate expires on 31 December 2010.

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BORDER ASSISTANCE MISSION FOR THE RAFAH CROSSING POINT IN GAZA STRIP

(EUBAM Rafah)

In 2005, Israel and the Palestinian Authority concluded an Agreement on Movement and Access, and the EU took upon the Third Party role proposed in the Agreement to monitor the operations of this border crossing point. The Mission’s mandate has been extended until 24 May, 2011.

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BORDER ASSISTANCE MISSION TO MOLDOVA AND UKRAINE (EUBAM)

In June 2005, the EU agreed that one of the means in providing assistance to the Moldovan efforts to resolve problems in the separatist Transnistrian region would be a border guard assistance mission on the Moldova – Ukraine border which should be funded and implemented by the European Commission.

The mission’s mandate is to help improve the capacity of the Moldovan and Ukrainian border and customs services to prevent and detect smuggling, trafficking of goods and human beings, and customs fraud, and to build operative and administrative capabilities towards more effective border control and border surveillance thereby helping to resolve the Transnistria conflict.

Experts from Latvia, namely, four State Revenue Service (customs) officers, took part in the EUBAM mission from its opening on 30 November 2005. The participation of three Latvian experts in the mission was prolonged until 30 November 2009. The Latvian experts stopped their participation of in the mission on 30 November 2009 due to the restricted financial resources.

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