This evening Foreign Minister Gabriel will leave for Mali, which he will visit together with his French counterpart Jean-Marc Ayrault.
In Berlin today (6 April) Foreign Minister Gabriel issued the following statement regarding this trip:
We have a long-standing partnership with Mali. It is a matter of particular importance to me to see Mali for myself and to learn about our engagement at first hand. Mali is the key to stabilisation and development in the Sahel region. Cross‑border terrorism and organised crime are a threat to security in neighbouring countries, and thus, by extension, to security in Europe. Moreover, Mali is gaining in importance as a country of transit for irregular and forced migration.
Mali is also an example of the constructive and meaningful cooperation between us Europeans. I am therefore particularly glad to undertake this visit together with my French counterpart, Jean-Marc Ayrault. We were deeply shocked by the news that a French soldier died yesterday. Our sympathy and condolences go to his family and to his friends and comrades on the mission. While on this trip, we will therefore also show our profound respect for the work being done by German and French soldiers. They are doing great things under the most difficult of conditions.
Following our talks in Gao, we will travel to Bamako to visit the National Police Academy. Together with our European partners and the United Nations, we are actively supporting police training and capacity development and are thereby making an important contribution to stabilising the country and the region.
Another important theme is peace and reconciliation. We have supported the Malian peace process from the outset. We will talk to President Keita about the progress made and how the process is to continue. Further fundamental domestic reforms are needed in Mali if long‑term peace and stability are to be achieved. This subject will also be addressed in our talks with members of Malian civil society.