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We won’t leave Mali in the lurch! (Guest comment)

Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle wrote the following guest comment for Bild am Sonntag on the situation in Mali:

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In Mali an Islamist rule of terror has forced hundreds of thousands to flee their homes. This terror is not only a threat to Africa, it is also a threat to Europe. Mali must not be allowed to become a hub for global terrorism.

Both politically and militarily, Germany is actively involved in the fight against terrorism. We are fighting it in Afghanistan, in the Mediterranean region and off the Horn of Africa.

In Africa it’s of course the Africans who should be spearheading this effort. Yet the army in Mali is still weak and West African forces have yet to be deployed on the ground. So at a critical juncture when Mali’s very existence was at stake, France provided emergency military aid. That’s something we greatly appreciate.

What’s crucial now is to ensure that Mali and the Africans have the capability to defeat the terrorists. The planned European mission to train the Malian army should begin as soon as possible. Germany has offered to provide instructors here as well as transport to Mali for the West African troops.

The African troop providers need financial support as well. In this respect, too, Germany will live up to its responsibilities at the upcoming donor conference in Addis Ababa at the end of the month. If we take action now to strengthen African capabilities, we are also lightening the burden on our French friends.

We won’t leave Africa in the lurch. Otherwise Africa’s problems will become our problems, too.