Senate approves soldiers’ participation in foreign missions
On Thursday, the Senate approved a proposal extending Czech participation in foreign missions in 2009. Around 1,400 Czech soldiers could serve in peacekeeping, reconstruction and security missions abroad next year, with the highest increase of personnel taking place in Afghanistan. Under the plan up to 745 Czech soldiers could serve in Afghanistan as part of the NATO ISAF mission, while the Czech contingent in Baghdad, Iraq, is to be made smaller. 20 personnel training local security forces there will drop to just five. The Czechs will also continue to serve in Kosovo, with no increases expected, although more than 500 soldiers could be provided for the mission there under special circumstances. The proposal must now be approved by the Chamber of Deputies, where support is uncertain given the the government lacks a majority.