International help for Mali – an overview
The town of Gao
The international community is assisting Mali in the fight against Islamists at various levels. With the most major towns in the north now liberated, the focus is on the political process. The political roadmap which the international community had called for has now been passed by the Malian Government and Parliament.
The German Government also considers a political solution central to the country’s long-term stability. Foreign Minister Westerwelle has stated that key steps include a return to constitutional order, national reconciliation and a stake in the economy and society for both the south and the north of the country. On 15 May, the German Government announced at an international donors’ conference for Mali held in Brussels that it would provide an additional 100 million euros in the coming years to assist the country. Dirk Niebel, the Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, who represented the German Government at the conference, stated that this was contingent on political leaders continuing along the road back to democracy in a credible manner.
On 19 June 2013, Cornelia Pieper – Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office – welcomed the preliminary agreement between the Malian Government and the Tuareg rebels. She stated that the recognition of Mali’s unity and territorial integrity and the return of the Malian army and administration to the north would advance the country’s reconstruction.
Multifaceted international support
French and Malian servicemen
© dpa / picture alliance
International support for Mali is currently being mobilized at various different levels. French troops have been in Mali as part of a combat operation since 11 January. With their assistance, the most major towns in the north, previously controlled by Islamist groups, have now been liberated. January also saw the start of the African-led Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA). As of 1 July 2013, their tasks are to be taken on by the MINUSMA mission, the establishment of which was decided by the UN Security Council on 25 April. MINUSMA is to make an extensive contribution towards bringing stability to Mali.
Mali has been beset by severe crisis since early 2012. Fighting between Government troops and Tuareg rebels broke out in the north of the country in January 2012. The situation was then exacerbated by a coup in March 2012, in which sections of the military overthrew President Touré. Islamist groups managed to gain control of large parts of northern Mali during the coup and the related unrest. They advanced southward at the beginning of 2013, prompting France to respond to the Malian Government’s request for intervention.
EU Training Mission
The European Union is supporting Mali as well. EUTM Mali, the training mission which the EU foreign ministers had agreed on at their council in Brussels on 18 February, officially began operations on 2 April. The EUTM Mali mandate includes advising the Malian armed forces and providing training for soldiers. The mission’s members will not participate in combat missions. As Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle specified, “We want the African forces to have the capacity to carry out their duties in bringing about stabilization in northern Mali.” Its initial mandate will run out after 15 months.
A Bundeswehr Transall aircraft being made ready for take-off to Mali
© dpa / picture alliance
A maximum of 180 German soldiers can participate in EUTM Mali at any one time. Germany’s involvement in the mission will concentrate mainly on training army engineers and providing medical support. A further 150 German soldiers are being sent to support AFISMA by running air transport and aerial refuelling for French aircraft. On 27 June, the Bundestag also voted in favour of the Bundeswehr taking part in MINUSMA, which is to replace AFISMA.
Children in Mali
© dpa / picture alliance
At the same time, Germany is also engaged in humanitarian relief efforts to improve conditions for people in Mali as well as the many refugees. Germany has pledged a total of 13.65 million euros in humanitarian aid for Mali since the end of 2011. This goes to support the activities of organizations including the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the World Food Programme (WFP), the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and German NGOs in Mali.
Germany has also taken steps to assist its Malian partners in their efforts to combat the problem of landmines. For instance, the German Ambassador in Bamako has handed over more than 100,000 euros’ worth of body armour and mine detectors to the Ministry of Internal Security and Civil Protection.
Security Council resolutions
ECOWAStroops arriving in Bamako
The legal basis for this international intervention is provided by decisions taken by the United Nations Security Council. On 20 December 2012, the Council adopted Resolution 2085 (2012) to sanction AFISMA and authorize ECOWAS to reestablish Mali’s territorial integrity.
The resolution calls on all countries to support these objectives. Resolution 2071 (2012) of 12 October 2012 also sees the Security Council pledge support for the planning of an international military operation as well as calling on regional and international partners to help improve the capabilities of Mali’s army.
- UN Security Council Resolution on MINUSMA, 25 April 2013 (Englisch)
- EU Foreign Affairs Council conclusions on Mali, 31 January 2013 (in French) PDF | 92 KB
Speech given by Foreign Minister Westerwelle in a debate on Mali in the German Bundestag
- We won’t leave Mali in the lurch! (Guest comment)
- Council Conclusions on Mali, Brussels, 17 January 2013 PDF | 86 KB
- Factsheet on the planned EU Training Mission in Mali (EUTM Mali) PDF | 128 KB
- UN Security Council Resolution 2085 (2012) on Mali PDF | 51 KB
- Security Council Resolution 2071 (2012) of 12 October 2012 on Mali PDF | 91 KB
Last updated 27.06.2013