Berlin Threatens to Pull Bundeswehr Contingent Out of Mali Unless Safety Guaranteed
12:44 GMT 06.09.2022 (Updated: 11:37 GMT 23.11.2022)
© AFP 2023 / SEYLLOUGerman soldiers from the parachutists detachment of the MINUSMA (United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali) cross the Niger river bridge during a patrol searching for IED (improvised explosive device) on the route from Gao to Gossi, Mali on August 2, 2018
© AFP 2023 / SEYLLOU
The Bundeswehr suspended its participation in the United Nations-backed mission in Mali last month after the West African nation’s authorities refused to grant a German military aircraft access to the country’s airspace. About 60 German troops were withdraw from Mali in July after Berlin accused local authorities of “harassing” them.
Germany will not continue to station troops in Mali as part of the UN’s Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) unless their security can be guaranteed, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has indicated.
“We are aware of our responsibilities, so we will not withdraw at the first sign of trouble. However, we tell our Malian partners in no uncertain terms what we expect with regard to the safety of our soldiers. If that doesn’t work, it will be difficult for us to stay,” Baerbock said at a diplomatic event on Monday.
The Bundeswehr is authorized to maintain a contingent of up to 1,400 troops in Mali, and has been one of the most active participants of the UN MINUSMA mission since its deployment to the country in 2013. The German military’s mandate for operations in the country will formally end in May 2023. The Bundeswehr has engaged in training, supply, reconnaissance missions, and the occasional deployment of armed drones and vehicles.
Most German forces in Mali are stationed at Camp Castor de Gao, a large military base situated near the capital city of Gao.
18 August 2022, 18:38 GMT
Germany suspended its Mali operations in mid-August after one of its aircraft was denied access to the West African country’s airspace, making a planned rotation of personnel impossible. The suspension of operations followed a separate incident in July after Malian authorities stopped German troops from boarding a civilian flight in Bamako.
Fousseyni Outtara, the deputy chairman of Mali’s transitional government, praised the suspension of the Bundeswehr’s operations last month. “I applaud this decision! We have long wished that the security of our territory in the air would be guaranteed exclusively by the Malian armed forces. We’ve always said that, and that’s what we wanted,” Outtara told German media.
Mali’s relations with European countries cooled significantly after the country’s military took power in a series of coups in 2020 and 2021. The last French troops left the country in August, ending their nine-year mission after the Mali government terminated defense agreements with Paris and accused France of supporting terrorists on its soil.
17 August 2022, 18:16 GMT