Responding to France's request for assistance, Lithuania is going to deploy up to 40 soldiers to Mali. The number has been approved at Friday's meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs.
© DELFI / Mindaugas Ažušilis

Lithuania had previously planned to send up to 20 soldiers and civilians to join the United Nations' mission in Mali in 2016.

"Until now it was up to 20 soldiers, but we mandated to increase the number to 40," Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs Benediktas Juodka told reporters on Friday.

According to Juodka, the agreement on the number was reached with a representative of the President's Office and Minister of National Defence Juozas Olekas.

The mission will begin on 1 January 2016 and last until 31 December 2017.

The draft resolution concerning the participation of Lithuanian soldiers in various international missions will be submitted to Parliament and put for a vote in the nearest future.

As reported, France launched a military operation in northern Mali in 2013, in an attempt to oust Islamic extremists that had seized the country. At the moment approximately 1,200 French soldiers are serving in north-eastern Mali.

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