Germany | Withdrawal of forces from Mali by end of 2023
Defence Redefined
Published on 17/11/2022 at 10:06

Germany’s government plans to withdraw its troops from Mali by the end of 2023 at the latest, ending their participation in the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Sahel country, MINUSMA, a German government source told AFP on Wednesday.

German troops will end their involvement in the UN peacekeeping operation MINUSMA by the end of 2023 at the latest, the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Several countries are reconsidering their participation in MINUSMA as instability increases. Westerners mainly denounce the presence of mercenaries from the Russian private military company Wagner, at the invitation of the military junta that has ruled Mali since 2020, despite denials from Bamako.

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The agreement in principle for the withdrawal of German forces was concluded by the Chancellery, the Defence and Goreign Ministries, according to the AFP source.

A final decision will be made next Tuesday, during a meeting chaired by Chancellor Olaf Soltz, it added. Another source, close to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, pointed out that the discussions are still ongoing and no final decision has been made.

About 1,100 Bundeswehr soldiers are involved in MINUSMA. The mandate of the peacekeeping mission, which was formed in 2013, stipulated that it would contribute to the stabilization of the security situation in the Sahel state, which is ‘bleeding’ from jihadist activity.

The mandate of German forces in Mali expires at the end of May 2023. When the German lower house decided to extend it in the spring, members of the Bundestag added an unprecedented emergency withdrawal clause if the security of Bundeswehr members was no longer guaranteed.

The main camp of German forces in Mali is in the city of Gao (east). In particular, they are tasked with guarding the airport.

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However, reconnaissance flights for the security of the Bundeswehr patrols have been interrupted repeatedly in recent months, due to tensions with the military regime or administrative problems. According to the German Defence Ministry, the Malian authorities no longer grant permits to the German military to carry out reconnaissance flights with UAVs as of October 11. Reconnaissance flights are absolutely necessary, as a ministry representative emphasized on Wednesday, as this has consequences for the execution of the mission.

The German government said in mid-August that it had information that Russians were present at Gao airport.

Britain and Ivory Coast, following other states, also announced this week the imminent withdrawal of troops deployed in Mali. France – the country that spearheaded the international military intervention in Mali, notably with the Barchan mission – and its European partners announced in February the withdrawal of their forces. The last French troops left the country in the summer after more than a decade of involvement.

MINUSMA, a force of about 12,000 troops, is the UN peacekeeping mission that has suffered by far the most casualties. The repeated announcements of troop withdrawals by Western countries have recently raised fears in diplomatic circles that violence in Mali will escalate, jihadists will strengthen and the region will be destabilized.

*File photo

Source: AMNA

Also read: German transport aircraft will repatriate wounded German UN troops in Mali




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