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Estonia's parliament backs military presence in Iraq until 2009

TALLINN, December 19 (RIA Novosti) - Estonia's parliament voted 53-29 in favor of extending the country's military deployment in Iraq until the end of 2008, the parliamentary press service reported on Wednesday.

The move followed a UN resolution on Tuesday extending the mandate for the U.S.-led multinational force (MNF) in the country for another year.

The country has been involved in the Iraqi campaign since 2003 and has around 150 troops currently deployed there and in Afghanistan.

Latvia, another Baltic NATO member, has dramatically reduced the number of soldiers in Iraq, while Lithuania has completely withdrawn its forces.

Estonia's government has budgeted 37.6 million kroons (about $3 million) to support the 2008 Iraqi mission.

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