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Cablegate: Three Slovak Soldiers Killed in Iraq

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS BRATISLAVA 000557

SIPDIS


DEPT FOR EUR, PMAT, AND NEA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV MARR PREL IZ LO
SUBJECT: THREE SLOVAK SOLDIERS KILLED IN IRAQ


1. (U) ON JUNE 8, THREE SLOVAK SOLDIERS, TWO POLISH
SOLDIERS, AND ONE LATVIAN SOLDIER WERE KILLED BY AN
ACCIDENTAL EXPLOSION DURING A DEMINING OPERATION IN AL-
SUVARIYA, SOUTH OF BAGHDAD. EARLY PRESS REPORTS
INDICATE THAT THE ACCIDENT OCCURRED AT AN OLD MUNITIONS
DEPOT. THE SLOVAKS HAVE 105 DEMINERS DEPLOYED IN IRAQ,
OPERATING IN THE POLISH SECTOR.

2. (U) DEFENSE MINISTER LISKA STATED DURING A PRESS
CONFERENCE THAT THE DEATHS WERE ACCIDENTAL, IMPLYING
THAT HE WOULD NOT RECOMMEND THE WITHDRAWAL OF SLOVAK
TROOPS. HE ADDED THAT A MILITARY COMMISSION HAS
ALREADY DEPARTED SLOVAKIA TO INVESTIGATE THE ACCIDENT.

3. (U) WE ARE COORDINATING CLOSELY WITH THE PRIME
MINISTER'S OFFICE AND THE MOD. AMBASSADOR WEISER HAS
SENT A CONDOLENCE LETTER TO BOTH PRESIDENT SCHUSTER AND
PRIME MINISTER DZURINDA, WHICH IS BEING RELEASED TO THE
PRESS.

4. (U) COMMENT: THESE ARE THE FIRST SLOVAK CASUALTIES
SINCE TROOPS DEPLOYED IN SUPPORT OF OPERATION IRAQI
FREEDOM IN APRIL 2003. THE DEPLOYMENTS HAVE BEEN
CONTENTIOUS FROM THE BEGINNING AS THE SLOVAK GOVERNMENT
WAS OUT IN FRONT OF THE PUBLIC AND MANY POLITICIANS IN
ITS SUPPORT OF OIF. IN RECENT WEEKS, THERE HAVE BEEN
CALLS FROM THE OPPOSITION AND FROM THE CHRISTIAN
DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT (KDH) TO DISCUSS IN PARLIAMENT THE
END OF THE SLOVAK MISSION IN IRAQ AS THE MANDATE IS
CURRENTLY OPEN-ENDED. THESE DEATHS WILL ALMOST
CERTAINLY REOPEN DEBATE IN PARLIAMENT, WHICH RECONVENES
ON JUNE 22. END COMMENT.

WEISER


NNNN

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