The Estonia Ministry of Defence will deploy up to 160 armed forces personnel in support of international military operations.

The Estonian Parliament has also approved the deployment of 234 service members to readiness units next year.

Estonia will increase its contribution to the ongoing French-led anti-terrorism operation Barkhane in Mali.

Launched in the wake of Operation Serval, Operation Barkhane seeks to ensure stability in the five countries in Africa’s Sahel region.

Estonia Defence Minister Jüri Luik said: “The French-led operation is engaged directly in the fight against armed terrorism in Mali. Mali is definitely dangerous, but it should not be forgotten that this is one of the reasons we are in the region and the end goal of the operation is to stabilise the situation in the region to a level which allows the national authorities of countries in the region to independently ensure security.

“The operation enables us to work with our closest allies such as France.”

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A total of 95 Estonian personnel will participate in the military operation in Mali. The country is also supporting the UN peacekeeping mission and the EU Training Mission in the African nation.

Estonia will contribute ten additional service members to support the US-led Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq. Inherent Resolve is military intervention against the Islamic State.

The 234-strong contribution of service members to readiness units will include 210 in the Nato Response Force (NRF) and up to 24 for the UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF), the Estonian Ministry of Defence added.