Germany sceptical about future of EU training mission in Mali

Germany sceptical about future of EU training mission in Mali

Following France’s announcement that it would begin a military withdrawal, Germany’s Defense Minister expressed skepticism about whether a European Union training operation in Mali could continue, and warned that a UN peacekeeping deployment would have to be reassessed.
“I have to say, I’m extremely doubtful about whether the EUTM mandate will be renewed,” Christine Lambrecht told reporters as she arrived in Brussels for a NATO defense ministers conference.
“When we perceive that the transition process, that is, the process of practicing democratic values, has been greatly postponed… then that is not our interpretation of this transition process,” she added, referring to elections that were postponed.
Earlier on Thursday, France and its allies fighting militants in Mali said they would begin their military withdrawal from the country.
Relations between Paris and Bamako have deteriorated since the ruling military junta went back on an agreement to organise an election in February and proposed holding power until 2025.
The exit by France and its allies raised questions about the futures of the 14 000-strong UN peacekeeping mission (MINUSMA) and the European Union’s EUTM and EUCAP missions.
Their fates are in doubt given French forces provide medical, aerial and emergency reinforcement support, such as a military hospital and combat helicopters.
Lambrecht said Germany could compensate for the military hospital “relatively easily and without complications.”
But the deployment of combat helicopters to protect troops would mean a completely changed mandate, which would have to be approved by Germany’s Bundestag lower house of parliament.
Germany’s Bundeswehr military has some 1 000 soldiers stationed in Mali as part of the MINUSMA peacekeeping operation. Another roughly 300 are involved in the EUTM training mission.

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