Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle today met Romano Prodi, the new UN Special Envoy for the Sahel. The two politicians discussed the next steps towards solving the crisis in Mali. The German Foreign Minister thanked Romani Prodi for his readiness to assume this difficult task.
Foreign Minister Westerwelle issued the following statement after the meeting:
We are extremely concerned about the situation in northern Mali. The human rights situation, the security situation and the humanitarian situation are all really depressing.
If northern Mali were to disintegrate, if terrorist schools were established, if a safe haven can be created for international terrorism, not only Mali, the region and the North African states will be endangered, but also we in Europe.
With our commitment to stabilizing Mali we are protecting Europe’s own security against terrorism and attacks.
The international community must support Mali’s efforts to regain control in northern Mali.
A lasting stabilization throughout Mali can, however, only be brought about through a political process which also takes account of and resolves the legitimate concerns of the people in northern Mali.
We are concerned with Europe’s and Germany’s readiness to provide support, not combat troops. It is key that we are ready to help the Africans make the stabilization of Mali, of northern Mali, possible again.
What we are talking about is a mission led and owned by the African states and based on the United Nations Security Council decision. We are talking about how we can contribute to the success of this mission – by providing training, for example. This is currently being discussed in the European Union.
We expect the political planning to be swift, so that further steps might be initiated as early as the next Foreign Affairs Council. Let me say this again: we are not talking about combat forces, but about support for an African mission in the form of training. In other words, neither the responsibility nor the leadership of the African states is in any way being called into question.