On June 11, Latvian Ambassador Alberts Sarkanis, Czech Defence Minister Karla Šlechtová, Czech Chief of the General Staff LGEN Aleš Opata, Canadian Ambassador Barbara C. Richardson visited the 7th Mechanized Battalion of the Czech Army in Hranice. According to the mandate recently approved by the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate of the Czech Parliament approx. 60 Czech soldiers will join the NATO Canadian-led Allied Multinational Forces Presence Battle Group (eFP) from mid-2018 till the end of 2020. This is the Czech first six-month mission which will begin on June 14, 2018. The military personnel from Hranice 7th Mechanized Battalion will represent the Czech Republic in multinational eFP in Latvia.
“By deploying Army of the Czech Republic personnel to eFP units, we are meeting our NATO commitments. For our soldiers, operating in a multinational environment represents an irreplaceable source of experience, The approval of the government and both parliamentary chambers extending mandate in the Baltics till 2020 is a positive signal to our partners. I am convinced that soldiers from Hranice batallion are well prepared for their mission" emphasized Minister Šlechtová during the meeting. "I view the involvement of the Army of the Czech Republic in NATO enhanced Forward Presence in the Baltics as continuation of our support in previous years to building of the Baltic countries’ own defence capabalities. In this way, our interest in international cooperation is demonstrated in a proper way and the unity of coalition on the NATO’s Eastern Flank is stengthened,” stressed LGEN Opata.
Latvian Ambassador Sarkanis expressed his stafisfaction about the involvement of the Czech forces in the international mission in the Baltics, particularily in Latvia, thus demonstrating understanding of the security concerns of the Baltic States and promoting mutual cooperation throughout the Alliance. The Canadian Ambassador Richardson said that Canada welcomes the Czech contribution to Canada-led seven-nation eFP Battle Group in Latvia. "We are proud to serve with our Allies and, together, we send our unmistakable message: we are NATO," stressed Canadian Ambassador Richardson.