Estonian defense chief: Cooperation with Finns makes Lebanon mission historic

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According to commander of the Estonian defense forces Lt. Gen. Riho Terras the mission of the defense forces in Lebanon is historic because for the first time Estonian soldiers will depart on a foreign operation with the Finnish.

At a ceremony on Tuesday Terras wished the soldiers wisdom and tenacity. The Finnish defense attache in Estonia also took part in the ceremony.

The Estonian unit's pregroup is already in the mission area.

Estonia is taking part in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) in the Finnish-Irish joint battalion with an infantry platoon and field officers. Commander of the Estonian contingent is Capt. Mario Lementa. Most of the members of the Estonian defense forces taking part in the mission have previous military mission experience.

The Estonian parliament on Feb. 18 decided to provide a mandate for sending up to 50 members of the defense forces to UNIFIL.