Sahel region: Key to stability on the African continent
For many years now, the Sahel region has been plagued by ethnic conflicts, terrorist attacks and abject poverty. Yet the region is key to stability on the entire African continent. In the interest of its own security, Europe is also engaged to help strengthen efficient state structures and institutions in the Sahel countries. For this is the only way to ensure, for example, that irregular migration along the routes via the Mediterranean is effectively blocked or that terrorist groups are countered on a long-term basis.
“There is no doubt that the situation in Mali remains a threat to international peace and security,” Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said today in the United Nations Security Council, which was discussing an extension to the mandate under the French presidency.
This is not the time to scale back.
Within the framework of MINUSMA, the Bundeswehr is
making a contribution to the restoration of state order in northern Mali and therefore to peace and stability in the country. This has a direct and positive impact on the stability of the entire Sahel region. There have been encouraging political developments in Mali – such as the inclusive national dialogue, the recent parliamentary elections and the deployment of new security forces in several towns in the north which were previously entirely in rebel hands – developments which would not have been possible without the support of the international community.
However, Mali is still facing huge challenges, both with the implementation of the peace agreement and with constitutional and security-sector reform as well as with resolving the conflicts in the country. It will continue to need the international community’s support and solidarity in future. “The international community must uphold its commitment to Mali,” Maas said in the Security Council.
Successful UN mission with Bundeswehr involvement
With up to 1100 soldiers and up to 20 police officers, MINUSMA is currently the largest deployment of the Bundeswehr abroad within the framework of a UN mission. MINUSMA was established by the UN Security Council in 2013. Its current UN mandate is set to run until the end of June 2020. The mission aims to support the implementation of the Algiers peace agreement between the Malian Government and the rebels, focusing particularly on strengthening state structures in the north of the country, protecting the civilian population and helping to stabilise the regions affected by the conflict.
Furthermore, the EU-led mission EUTM Mali is advising Mali’s armed forces so that they can safeguard the country’s territorial integrity on their own and successfully tackle the threat posed by terrorist groups. A total of up to 1450 Bundeswehr soldiers have been involved in the two missions to date.
Together with the diplomatic efforts to promote peace and stability and extensive contributions to development assistance, the two missions are part of the German Government’s networked approach in Mali, combining military missions, civilian projects, development cooperation and humanitarian assistance. The German Bundestag recently decided to extend German participation in both missions for another year.