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27 Mar 13. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. A Lance Corporal from 1st Bn The Mercian Regiment died on 26 Mar 13 as a result of wounds sustained in the Nad-e Ali District on the previous day. (MoD, 27 Mar 13.) UK deaths since the start of Operations thus rose to 441, of whom 398 were killed due to hostile action.
24 locally employed civilians (LEC) have been killed while working for UK Forces and 122 have been injured since 2006. (House of Lords, 27 Mar 13.)
The MoD claimed that the Independent newspaper was guilty of “a complete misinterpretation” of remarks by the Deputy Commander, ISAF. It was confirmed that the number of UK troops would be reduced from “around 9,000” to “around 5,200” by 31 Dec 13. (MoD 2 Apr 13.)
Two RAF Flight Lieutenants are assisting in the training of Afghan Air Force pilots. (MoD, 3 Apr 13.)
Comment: The Foreign Secretary issued a Ministerial Statement on 25 Mar 13 (Hansard, Column 69WS) covering the 25th progress report on developments in Afghanistan since November 2010. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 13/14, 08 Apr 13)

27 Mar 13. Mali: OP NEWCOMBE. The Defence Secretary announced (27 Mar 13) the deployment of British troops to assist in the training of the Malian military, as part of a European Union Training Mission (EUTM). 21 personnel from 1st Bn The Royal Irish Regiment arrived in Bamako on 26 Mar 13. The 40-man training team will be completed by troops from
45 Commando RM and 29 Commando Regiment RA and augmented by six members of The Irish Defence Force. Training is taking place in Koulikoro, 60 kilometres from Bamako, under the command of a French Brigadier General.
Comment: The 22 contributing nations that make up the EUTM are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 13/14, 08 Apr 13)

05 Apr 13. Korea (DPRK): Embassy Personnel to Remain. The North Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed (5 Apr 13) a number of Embassies in Pyongyang, including the British Embassy, that their safety could not be guaranteed “in the event of conflict”. A deadline of 10 Apr 13 was mentioned, but the UK position was clear: “….we have no immediate plan to withdraw our Embassy.”.
Comment: It is understood that there are fewer than 20 British nationals living in Pyongyang, including consular staff. The authorities in the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) declared the 1953 Korean War armistice nullified on 11 Mar 13 (but this is a fairly routine occurrence!).

02 Apr 13. Arms Trade: Treaty Agreement. The Foreign Secretary welcomed (2 Apr 13) United Nations’ agreement “on a robust and legally binding Arms Trade Treaty to regulate the international trade in conventional arms”. Commenting on the agreement, the Foreign Secretary said that he was proud of the role that the UK has played.
Comment: The UK has led international efforts to secure an Arms Trade Treaty in the UN since co-authoring the original Resolution in 2006. Despite some objections (from Iran, Korea (DPRK) and Syria) the UK and others tabled a Resolution in the UN General Assembly to adopt the draft Treaty. The Resolution was passed with 154 votes in favour, three against and 23 abstentions. The Treaty will be opened for signature in New York on 3 Jun 13.

04 Apr 13. PM warns over Scotland’s defence jobs. David Cameron made a rallying call on Thursday to the defence industry to oppose Scottish independence, warning that thousands of jobs are at risk if the country decides to leave the union next year. During a visit to a defence contractor in S

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