Lithuanian Defence Minister Juozas Olekas has pledged to increase support for EU military operations against migration and terrorism insurgencies in Africa and the Mediterranean.
During a meeting of the defence ministers of the EU, Olekas called for cooperation and coordination among the nations engaged in the military operation.
He also announced plans to increase military strength for operations in Africa and the Mediterranean.
Olekas said: "We have taken a decision to increase the number of personnel in Mali in response to France’s request to contribute to the operations in Africa after the activation of the mutual assistance clause of the Treaty on the European Union.
"We will continue contributing to the EU counter-piracy operation Atalanta off the Somali coast and will increase our input in to the operation for countering illegal migration in the Mediterranean."
In December, the Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania approved the deployment of up to 40 Lithuanian soldiers to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) this year.
The country also commissioned an autonomous vessel protection detachment (AVPD) to the European Union Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) Atalanta this year.
A Lithuanian AVPD of 16 vessels is currently protecting a World Food programme-chartered vessel, which transports humanitarian aid to Somalia, from pirates.
Olekas has also insisted member countries augment their support to the Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries’ participation in the EU Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), as well as contribute to the Eastern Partnership Technical Assistance Trust Fund.
Image: Delegates of nations in the EU defence ministers’ meeting. Photo: courtesy of Ministry of National Defence Republic of Lithuania.