Neutral Finland to boost Iraq, Lebanon missions to help France

Rafale fighter jets are seen on the deck of the French nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle as it leaves the naval base of Toulon.

Rafale fighter jets are seen on the deck of the French nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle as it leaves the naval base of Toulon.


Finland said on Friday it would boost its involvement in a training mission in Iraq and in a U.N.-led operation in Lebanon to help relieve French forces following the Paris attacks last month by ISIS militants.

France made an unprecedented call for military help from its European Union partners under the bloc’s Lisbon Treaty following the attacks, which killed 130 people.

EU member Finland is officially neutral and not in NATO. Its constitution does not allow it to take part in military operations overseas.

However, the Finnish government said in a statement it would expand the number of people it has deployed to a training mission in the northern Iraqi city of Arbil and was stepping up its presence in the United Nations mission in Lebanon to help free up French forces needed elsewhere.

Finland is also considering boosting its participation in a crisis-management operation in Mali, the statement said.


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