Parliamentary Committee on Defence unanimously supported the decision to continue Croatia’s participation in peacekeeping missions.
Parliamentary Committee on Defence unanimously decided on Friday to propose to the full Parliament to adopt the decision on sending additional members of the Croatian Armed Forces to six international peacekeeping missions, in which Croatian soldiers have already been participating for several years, reports 24sata.hr on November 25, 2016.
The operations in questions are: NATO operations in Afghanistan and Kosovo; three United Nations operations – in India and Pakistan, in Western Sahara and in Lebanon; as well as the Atalanta mission in Somalia, which is led by the European Union.
According to Tomislav Ivić (HDZ), State Secretary at the Ministry of Defence, currently there are 95 members of the Croatian Armed Forces serving in Afghanistan, 24 members in Kosovo, 17 members in the three UN missions, and 14 members in Somalia. According to the new decision, these numbers could be increased. Next year, Croatia could send up to a hundred members of its armed forces to Afghanistan, up to 40 to Kosovo, up to 23 to the three UN peace mission, and up to 25 members to Somalia, with the possibility of rotation of individual members. Ivić added that these represented maximum possible numbers and that in really the number of members sent could be somewhat lower.
He informed the members of the Committee that all proposed increases in the number of members in peacekeeping mission had received approval by President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, who is also the supreme commander of the Armed Forces. The decision will now go to the full Parliament, where it needs to receive the support of more than half of all members of Parliament. The State Secretary added that the budget of the Ministry of Defence for the next year would include resources necessary for the implementation of the operations.
Ivić also welcomed the proposal of Committee member Joško Klisović (SDP) that Parliamentary Committee on Defence and Committee on Foreign Policy should hold a joint session to discuss the overall strategy for Croatian participation in peacekeeping missions. Klisović said that one gets the impression that Croatia often participates reactively in these operations and that sometimes it takes part with just a handful of members in some of them, wondering whether that was the best way to do it.
It is expected that majority of MPs will support the proposal and that Parliament could adopt the final decision as early as later today.