Germany to end EU training mission in West African nation of Mali
Germany said Wednesday it will end its participation in the European Union training mission in Mali but is ready to continue with a U.N. peacekeeping mission in the West African country under certain conditions.
France and allies fighting militants in Mali earlier this year said they would pull out troops after almost a decade.
German troops are a member of the 14,000-strong United Nations peacekeeping mission (MINUSMA) and the European Union's EUTM and EUCAP missions.
"We cannot support such a system any longer," German Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht said after a cabinet meeting in Meseberg, a city north of Berlin. "That's why we will stop our (participation in the) EUTM training mission."
Germany was willing to continue its participation in the MINUSMA peacekeeping mission if the U.N. made sure that shortfalls created by the French withdrawal were filled to ensure the safety of German soldiers, Lambrecht said.
"I expect the U.N. to create conditions for us to continue our involvement in MINUSMA. We are ready to continue the mandate," Lambrecht said.
Tensions between France and the military government in Mali, which seized power in August 2020, had been rising for some time.
The development comes after Malian troops discovered a mass grave close to a former French military base. French forces handed the Gossi military base back to the Malian army just weeks ago.
The Malian army’s general staff revealed in a statement that “bodies in a state of advanced putrefaction were discovered in a mass grave, not far from the camp formerly occupied by the French force Barkhane.”
A French mission began in Mali in 2013 to allegedly counter militants that Paris claims are linked to the al-Qaeda and Daesh terrorist groups. Accordingly, the French government deployed thousands of soldiers to presumably prevent separatist forces from reaching Bamako.
The war caused several thousand deaths and more than a million people to flee their homes. There have been two military coups in roughly a year, amid growing demonstrations against France’s military presence.