February 3, 2016 / 6:32 AM / 3 years ago

Slovenia offers military instructors, equipment to fight Islamic State

LJUBLJANA (Reuters) - Slovenia will offer military equipment and up to 15 military instructors to the global U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State (IS), Defence Minister Andreja Katic said on Wednesday, confirming an earlier media report.

The Slovenian military instructors would start training Kurdish soldiers in the Iraqi city of Erbil probably in the second half of the year, Katic told a news conference.

Details of the mission would be determined in March in coordination with other coalition members, she said. European Union member Slovenia has so far not participated in any action against IS.

“Slovenia will take part in solving the main global challenges,” she said. “Preventative action at home against such complex, crossborder threats is no longer sufficient.”

She said Slovenia would also offer military equipment worth 650,000 euros ($710,000) to soldiers in Iraq who are fighting against ISIS, a sum that includes transport costs.

The country of 2 million citizens has been struggling with a large inflow of migrants since October when Hungary sealed off its border and pushed the Balkan migrant route west.

Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec told the same news conference that ISIS was “one of the main causes of the migration wave”.

So far almost 443,000 migrants have passed Slovenia on their way to Austria, Germany and other states in Northern Europe, but less than 200 have applied for asylum.

Reporting By Marja Novak; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky

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