Georgian troops prepare for EU mission in Africa

A farewell ceremony for soldiers departing in Central Africa was held today., 09 Dec 2014 - 13:14, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian troops are gearing up to travel to the troubled Central African Republic to take part in the European Union (EU) military peacekeeping mission.

The 100-strong 23rd Battalion of the Second Infantry Brigade will depart Georgia for Africa tomorrow. They will replace the 22nd Battalion of the II Infantry Brigade of the Georgian Armed Forces (GAF) and will spend the next four months on duty. The Georgian troops are taking part in the EU Security and Defence mission and are serving on a rotational process.

A farewell ceremony was held for the departing soldiers today. It was attended by Defence Minister Mindia Janelidze, Defence Deputy Ministers, heads of the General Staff of the Georgian Armed Forces and the French Ambassador to Georgia Renaud Salins.

Janelidze addressed the Georgian servicemen and wished them a successful mission abroad.

"You were given a very difficult mission by your country, a mission for providing stability and peace in another state. We are very proud that Georgia is present on the African continent as well. This means that our country stands beside the civilized world,” he said.

"Together with leading countries, Georgia has large military traditions. The Georgian Army is ready to fulfill its duty on any continent. Your participation in the African mission is not only a peacekeeping act, this is a service for your country because your work gets us closer to NATO’s armed forces, the EU and world leading countries,” he announced.

"I am confident that you will successfully carry out your missions and you will all return home unharmed,” Janelidze said.

Georgian military have contributed to the EU security mission since March, after the EU asked the Georgian Government to contribute to the African mission.

Minister Janelidze told reporters, Georgia had a mandate to participate in the mission until the end of December however the Government had already addressed Georgia’s Parliament to prolong the mandate for an additional three months.

If Parliament approves this request, the troops will spent a total of seven months in the Central African Republic.