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Estonian Minister of Defence thanked Estonian troops for their service in Mali

12. February 2019 - 14:16
Estonian Minister of Defence thanked Estonian troops for their service in Mali
Estonian Minister of Defence thanked Estonian troops for their service in Mali

In recognition of their service in Africa, as part of Operation Barkhane, Minister of Defence of the Republic of Estonia Jüri Luik presented mission medals to nearly 50 Estonian servicememebers.

‘Mali is one of the most distant locations where our soldiers, with weapons in hand, have defended the interests of Estonia. With this decision, we have confirmed our membership in the common western security space,' Luik said at the ceremony held today at the Ministry of Defence.

‘A few weeks ago, I visited Mali, and the professionalism, discipline and general positive attitude of Estonia's service members was recognised by everyone with whom I met during my visit,' Luik added.

The Minister of Defence noted that Estonia’s troops have been participating in military operations abroad for 24 years and this has become a natural part of their career.

‘I am thankful to all of our service members, with whose good service we have also been able to convince our friends and allies to contribute to Estonia’s security,’ said Luik.

According to Luik, the continent of Africa has become a place where cooperation with our Ally France, has grown into a reliable and mutually reinforcing defence related relationship. French troops are also serving in Estonia, in the United Kingdom led NATO Battle Group.

The goal of the French-led anti-terrorism Operation Barkhane is to support five Sahel region countries (Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Chad) in their fight against Islamic insurgents and thereby contribute to preventing illegal immigration and human smuggling in the direction of Europe.

In addition to Estonia, the operation is also being supported by the United Kingdom, with transport helicopters, and Spain, with an air force component.

Estonian units are also serving in Mali under the UN peacekeeping mission MINUSMA and the European Union’s regional stability mission EUTM.

Photos of the ceremony

Further information: press[at]kaitseministeerium[dot]ee