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Mali: assistance at many levels

The international community is supporting Mali at various levels to address the continuing crisis. Alongside the military assistance, the focus as ever is on finding a political solution. At UN Security Council talks on Mali on 22 January, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that military gains would have to be matched by efforts to restore full constitutional order. “Let there be no doubt,” he said, “we are firmly committed to helping Mali in its hour of need.”

International support for Mali is currently being mobilized at various different levels. French soldiers have been in Mali since 11 January as part of a combat operation to prevent Islamist rebels advancing from the north.

EU authorizes training mission

The EU Foreign Ministers agreed on 17 January to set up an EU training mission (EUTM Mali). Intended to train members of Mali’s armed forces, the mission is to running by mid-February at the latest. EUTM Mali is not to become involved in combat situations. Foreign Minister Westerwelle said the most important thing was to enable Mali and the African forces to themselves bring about greater stabilization in Mali.

Jeffrey Feltman briefing the Security Council

Jeffrey Feltman briefing the Security Council
© UN Photo

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Jeffrey Feltman briefing the Security Council

Jeffrey Feltman briefing the Security Council

Jeffrey Feltman briefing the Security Council

Furthermore, the African-led support mission AFISMA was deployed on 18 January. Jeffrey Feltman, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, told the Security Council on 22 January that there was agreement on the need for more than the originally planned contingent of 3300 if AFISMA was to function effectively. He also stressed how important it was not to forget the political approach over and above the military operation.

A political solution is key

Foreign Minister Westerwelle also repeatedly highlighted the key importance of resolving the crisis politically. He joined his fellow EU Foreign Ministers in emphasizing the need for political progress as the foundation of long-term stability in Mali when they met on 17 January. As recorded in their Council Conclusions, the Foreign Ministers urged the Malian authorities to adopt and implement a roadmap for the restoration of democracy and constitutional order. They also encouraged the launch of an inclusive national dialogue open to the northern populations.

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.

Security Council resolutions

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 an African-led International Support Mission in Mali (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.

German support

A Bundeswehr Transall aircraft being made ready for take-off to Mali

A Bundeswehr Transall aircraft being made ready for take-off to Mali
© dpa / picture alliance

Bild vergrößern
A Bundeswehr Transall aircraft being made ready for take-off to Mali

A Bundeswehr Transall aircraft being made ready for take-off to Mali

A Bundeswehr Transall aircraft being made ready for take-off to Mali

Germany intends to provide instructors for the EU mission and is also helping to transport ECOWAS troops to Mali. The German Government has made two Transall transport aircraft available for that purpose, and they are already being used.

However, the African troop providers need financial support as well. A donors conference will therefore be held in Addis Ababa on 29 January. Foreign Minister Westerwelle has declared Germany’s readiness to fulfil its responsibility to provide assistance alongside its partners.

Humanitarian aid

At the same time, Germany is also engaged in humanitarian relief efforts to improve conditions for the people in Mali as well as the many refugees. On 16 January, the German Government pledged an additional one million euros in humanitarian aid. 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.


Last updated 23.01.2013