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Govt backs Estonia's continuation on Middle East mission


TALLINN, Jan 22, BNS - The Estonian government on Thursday gave its nod to a bill that will extend the participation of Estonian military observers in the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) mission in the Middle East until the end of next year.

According to the bill forwarded to the parliament, Estonia would continue participating in the United Nations' military monitoring mission in Lebanon, Israel, Egypt and Syria with up to five defense forces personnel, spokespeople for thr Estonian Defense Ministry told BNS.

Participation this year is budgeted to cost 2.2 million kroons. Capt. Margus Aas and Capt. Georg Linkov of Estonia currently serve on one-year missions with UNTSO.

The existing parliamentary mandate expires on Feb. 22.

As of last summer more than 150 monitors from a host of countries were deployed with UNTSO.

Estonian observers have been deployed in Israel and Syria as part of UNTSO since 1997.

(EUR 1 = EEK 15.65)

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