On 14 January, the Saeima (Latvian Parliament) supported the participation of Latvian troops in the United Nations mission in Mali (MINUSMA) and the training of the Iraqi armed forces. In accordance with the decision regarding the UN mission in Mali, Latvia will join the first UN peacekeeping mission thereby enhancing its support for UN peacekeeping efforts. In accordance with the Latvian Parliament’s second decision, Latvia will increase its practical engagement in the Global Coalition to counter ISIL/Da’esh.
The UN-led mission in Mali has the central role in addressing the crisis and stabilizing the security environment in this Western African country and across the wider region. Starting February this year, one to three soldiers of the National Armed Forces of Latvia will contribute to information management under Dutch command in the capital city of Bamako. The UN mission in Mali cooperates closely with the EU Training Mission in Mali (EUTM), which currently has seven Latvian troops. The mandate of MINUSMA has currently been extended till 30 June 2016.
The Global Coalition to counter ISIL/Da’esh has brought together more than 60 countries including Latvia and plays a decisive role in the fight against this terrorist group in the Middle East and on a broader scale. Under the Latvian Saeima’s decision, a group of 10 Latvian instructors will contribute to the training of Iraqi security forces from February onwards. Latvia’s engagement in the training activities is taking place in response to an appeal from the Government of Iraq and in line with UN Security Council Resolution 2249 (2015) of 20 November 2015 calling on all UN member states to take the necessary steps to fight against ISIL/Da’esh.
The Saeima decision envisages Latvia’s involvement in the training of the Iraqi security forces till 1 February 2018.