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Lithuanian-Polish Peace Force Battalion, Lithuania

December 1st, 2007 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places

Lithuanian-Polish Peace Force Battalion or LITPOLBAT (Polish: Litewsko-Polski Batalion Sił Pokojowych) is a Lithuanian-Polish peacekeeping battalion, formed in late 1990s as one of the examples of military cooperation between Lithuania and Poland, now both part of NATO. Soldiers of the battalion serve in various peacekeeping missions of United Nations, NATO and OSCE.

Polish-Lithuanian foreign relations were established in 1991. Foundation of the military cooperation lies in an agreement signed on June 15, 1993 in Vilnius between the Ministry of National Defense of Republic of Poland and the Ministry of National Protection of the Lithuanian Republic concerning the establishment of mutual military cooperation. Since it was signed, various joint training exercises have taken place at the squad and platoon level between Polish and Lithuanian military. Poland has also assisted Lithuanian military by donating equipment worth over one million US dollars and assisting with training.

Creation of such specific unit was first proposed by president of Lithuania, Algirdas Brazauskas, during his speech in Polish parliament (Sejm) in 1995. The unit was officially created on 3 March 1997 when a specific agreement was reached by Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its Lithuanian counterpart. On 31st of December 1998 the battalion reached operatinal readiness.

During president of Poland Aleksander Kwaśniewski visit to Lithuania on 14 April 1999, LITPOLBAT was presented with two military standards, Polish and Lithuanian one, financed by presidents of both countries.

In 2000, LITPOLBAT was identified as a component of the Rapid Reaction Forces formed by the European Union.

In 1999 Poland joined NATO and has since than been supporting Lithuanian entry into that organization; Lithuania joined NATO in 2004. On February 5, 2001 a new agreement of cooperation on the issue of defence was signed between the Government of Poland and the Government of Lithuania reflecting their new NATO-related closer cooperation.

Polish units of LITPOLBAT come from 4 Suwałki Armored Cavalary Brigade named after General Zygmunt Podhorecki in Orzysz, part of Warmia-Mazury Polish 15th Mechanized Division named after king of Poland and Lithuania, Władysław Jagiełło. Lithuanian inits come from Mechanized Infantry Battalion in Alytus, named after Great Lithuanian Duchess Birute, part of "Iron Wolf" Mechanized Infantry Division in Vilnius.

Nearly 800 soldiers serve in the battalion (435 Polish and 351 Lithuanian after the creation in 1998 (786 total); NATO press release for 2004 gave the strength of 784). The key staff positions are taken up by rotation. The commander of the unit serves for 3 years.

The bilaterally staffed Battalion Headquarters are located in Orzysz, Poland.

[Source: Wikipedia]

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