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Cablegate: Estonia: Parliament Extends Mandates for Iraq,

VZCZCXRO6734
RR RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHTL #0802 3541424
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 201424Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY TALLINN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0398
INFO RUEHGB/AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD 0051
RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL 0037
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS TALLINN 000802

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PARM MARR PGOV IZ AF KV BK EN
SUBJECT: ESTONIA: PARLIAMENT EXTENDS MANDATES FOR IRAQ,
AFGHANISTAN AND KOSOVO.

REF: TALLINN 693

1. (U) On December 19, the 101 member Estonian
Parliament (Riigikogu) voted to extend the mandate for
the Estonian troop deployment in Iraq by 12 months
(until December 31, 2008). 53 MPs voted in favor of the
bill, which followed quickly on the heels of the
December 18 UNSC vote to extend the mandate of the
multinational forces in Iraq. Most MPs from the ruling
coalition (Reform, IRL and Social Democrats) voted in
favor of the bill while members of the opposition
(Center, Greens and People's Union) primarily voted
against or did not vote at all. The Speaker of
Parliament signed the bill into law at the same session.

2. (SBU) Parliament's approval re-authorizes up to 40
troops to participate in the mission. At the moment
Estonia has a total of 38 military personnel serving in
Iraq. 34 infantry troops (ESTPLA-16) are assigned to
the U.S. 1st Calvary Division near Baghdad and 4 staff
officers serve at the headquarters of the multinational
brigade and in the NATO training mission.

3. (SBU) At a holiday reception just before debate on
the Iraq bill began in the Parliament, Prime Minister
Ansip underscored his strong support for Estonia's role
in Iraq and made a point of telling Ambassador that
Estonia would 'stand by the United States all over the
world.'

4. (U) During the month of December, the Riigikogu also
voted to extend the mandates for Estonian troop
participation in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina and
Kosovo (all until December 31, 2008). The extension of
the Afghanistan mission (69 votes in favor, none
opposed) continued authorization for the participation
of up to 150 Estonian soldiers in the NATO-led
International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). The bill
on Bosnia and Herzegovina (74 votes in favor, none
opposed) allows for the participation of 5 soldiers in
the regional peace keeping operation. This is a
decrease in the size of the allowed contingent from 35
to 5. However, it more accurately reflects the actual
number of troops Estonia has deployed on the ground (3
since June). The Kosovo bill (80 votes in favor, none
opposed) re-authorized the deployment of up to 40 troops
with the NATO-led KFOR force. Finally, this month, the
Parliament also approved the participation of 55
Estonian troops in the EU Nordic Battle Group (81 votes
in favor, none opposed). (Note: The final decision on
whether and where the force will be deployed is made by
the European Council. End Note).

PHILLIPS

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