Germany partly suspends military mission in Mali over flights row
Germany has suspended its military mission in Mali after diplomatic tensions with the West African country. Defense Ministry spokesman Arne Collatz told a news conference in Berlin that Malian authorities on Friday denied clearance to a German transport plane, and once again hindered troop rotation plans.
“Therefore, we must take measures, and we’re suspending operations of our reconnaissance forces and CH-53 transport flights until further notice," he said.
Collatz said German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht had called her Malian counterpart on Thursday, and received assurances that there will be no obstacles to the planned troop rotation.
“But now, the Malian government once again denied a German transport plane fly over its territory,” he said.
Germany was among the key countries supporting UN’s MINUSMA (Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission) in order to help implement the peace process in the West African country.
In February this year, France announced its soldiers would leave Mali as part of a military rethink in what is seen as a new “turf war” between the West and Russia for influence in Africa’s Sahel region.
Recently Mali’s military government has received several fighter jets and helicopters from Russia, which has become a close and controversial ally in its fight against terrorists.
The aircraft were handed over during a ceremony at Bamako’s airport, with Malian President Assimi Goita and Russian Ambassador Igor Gromyko present.
Mali also received two Russian helicopters in April, and four helicopters as well as weapons in September of last year.
Since 2012, the West African country has been fighting groups aligned to al-Qaeda or Daesh terrorist groups. The UN mission is made up of 12,000 peacekeepers tasked with stabilizing the country and supporting Mali’s transitional government organize elections for 2024 after a military coup in 2020.