Finland is preparing to send more troops to the crisis management operation in Mali, and is also planning to remain in the NATO-led military training scheme in Afghanistan until the end of 2016, Finnish Foreign Minister Timo Soini said on Tuesday.
Soini told the newspaper Helsingin Sanomat that Finland has now received a request from France for assistance. Soini did not specify how many soldiers Finland would send to Mali.
The current Finnish input in the African country has ten soldiers in an EU operation and five in a UN operation.
There are currently 40 Finnish soldiers in Afghanistan. Soini presumed the number would remain the same. Finnish forces would remain mainly in Mazar-i.Sharif in Northern Afghanistan, he said.
According to earlier plans, troops under NATO command would have been cut back next year and operations would focus in the capital Kabul region.
Soini participated on Tuesday a NATO ministerial meeting that dealt with the extension of the current NATO Resolute Support operation.
In September 2014, NATO gave Finland and Sweden, which are not NATO members, positions as enhanced companions.