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Cabinet approves Bundeswehr deployment in Mali

Up to 330 German soldiers are to be deployed on international missions to help stabilize Mali. They will serve as instructors to the Malian army, in the medical corps and will provide logistical support for international forces. The German soldiers will not take part in combat or military operations.

This decision was taken by the German Government at its Cabinet meeting on 19 February. Two separate mandates for Bundeswehr missions were adopted, one for Germany’s participation in the EU training mission in Mali (EUTM) and one for its participation in the African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA), backed by the UN Security Council. The two missions are due to run until 28 February 2014.

The German Bundestag still has to approve the deployments. The motions submitted by the Cabinet seeking approval for the two mandates were subjected to a first reading in the Bundestag on 20 February.

EUTM Mali

Up to 180 German soldiers are to be assigned to the European training mission. The EU Foreign Ministers approved this mission at their meeting in Brussels on 18 February. It is designed to improve the capabilities of the Malian army and thus help restore the territorial integrity and stability of Mali. The German soldiers will focus on training army engineers and providing medical support for EUTM Mali. The mission officially commenced its work in Mali on 2 April.

AFISMA

Up to 150 more German soldiers will take part in the African-led International Support Mission (AFISMA) in Mali. This mission is based on UN Security Council resolution 2085 of 20 December 2012. AFISMA’s aim is to help the Malian Government restore its authority over the entire country and to protect the Malian civilian population.

Germany will contribute by flying AFISMA troops and French forces to Mali and providing mid-air refuelling for French aeroplanes. Three transport planes and one tanker plane will be provided for these purposes. German Transall planes have already flown African troops to Mali. These flights are now to be supplemented by flights within Mali. The missions will continue to be conducted from the air base at Dakar in Senegal.

Mali has been beset by a political crisis since early 2012 when fighting broke out between Government troops and Tuareg rebels in the north of the country. The situation was then exacerbated by a coup in which sections of the military overthrew the President. During the coup, radical Islamist groups managed to gain control of large parts of northern Mali and threatened the security of the Malian population. A further advance by the extremists was halted by France’s intervention in early January 2013. The aim now is to restore greater stability to Mali.


Last updated 02.04.2013

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