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Cablegate: Slovakia Approves Nato Request to Send Engineers

VZCZCXRO1782
OO RUEHIK RUEHYG
DE RUEHSL #0129 0601431
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 011431Z MAR 07
FM AMEMBASSY BRATISLAVA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0729
INFO RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE

UNCLAS BRATISLAVA 000129

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL MASS NATO KPAO AF LO
SUBJECT: SLOVAKIA APPROVES NATO REQUEST TO SEND ENGINEERS
TO KANDAHAR

REF: BRATISLAVA 58

1. The Slovak Cabinet approved a decision to transfer a
maximum of 65 Slovak combat-engineers from Kabul to the
airport in Kandahar on February 28. The decision came in
response to a request made by NATO last Fall. Slovak soldiers
will be sent to Kandahar with the caveat that they not leave
the airfield. At the moment Slovakia has 57 soldiers in
Afghanistan, only 40 of whom are combat engineers. It is not
clear if extra forces will be added ahead of the transfer to
Kandahar, which DefMin Kasicky said would be realized before
the end of the first half of this year. Contacts at MoD have
told us this decision does not require Parliamentary approval.

2. President Gasparovic welcomed the Cabinet's decision and
called it a proper step. Through his spokesperson, Gasparovic
said he supports the decision because "we are members of
NATO, and from this flow certain responsibilities."
Gasparovic believes the decision shows that Slovakia is a
responsible and respectable partner that wants to fulfill its
commitments.
SILVERMAN

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