Cooperation with Mali: EU resumes military mission

The EUTM Mali training mission, which was suspended due to the military coup, is set to restart. The Bundeswehr is also involved in it.

The EUTM in Mali, in which the German Federal Armed Forces is involved, will be resumed Photo: Michael Kappeler / Reuters

BERLIN taz | Two months after the military coup in Mali, the EU decided to resume its EUTM-Mali military training mission, which was suspended after the coup. According to information from the taz, the EU members in the Political and Security Committee of the EU decided on October 13th to “gradually resume” EUTM-Mali in coordination with the new civil-military transitional government.

Priority is given to advice, including in the areas of human rights and the fight against impunity, as well as support for the G5-Sahel regional anti-terrorism reaction force, and activities in central Mali, where violence and insecurity are greatest.

The State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Defense, Thomas Silberhorn, also announced the resumption of EUTM Mali on Tuesday to the new Malian President Ba Ndaw and his Vice Assimi Goita during talks in Bamako. According to Malian reports, Silberhorn promised to “maintain and consolidate” the good relations between Germany and Mali.

The Bundeswehr is involved in EUTM Mali with an upper limit of 350 soldiers. In fact, almost all activities since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic have been on hold. The mission was formally suspended following the fall of President-elect Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta by the army on August 18.

The planned resumption of EUTM Mali is met with a mixed response in German politics, where the Bundeswehr mission in Mali is rejected by the left and AfD. Left-wing MP Tobias Pflüger renewed his call for the Bundeswehr to withdraw from Mali, as the EU mandate provides for the Malian armed forces to be trained “under the control of the legitimate civil government”: “Does the federal government now recognize the putschists as a legitimate government?” The FDP- Vice-President Christoph Hoffmann, who had visited Mali in September, called on the federal government to intensify development cooperation with Mali and to initiate government negotiations with Bamako “in order to support the transitional government with urgent reforms”.

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