PARIS – Where are the ‘EU friends’ in Sahel?

In a meeting in Pau on Monday, the heads of state for the G5 Sahel (Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad and Mauritania) expressed their will to fight jihadist terror groups in the region and agreed to focus on the Tri border area under the joint command of Operation Barkhane, which has been in place since 2013.

Currently, there are 4,500 French soldiers in the region and President Macron will send another 220. But what are the other EU member states do?

While African heads of state chose not to join the press conference, a new “Takuba” task force, which should gather all European military contributions as a European special force, was announced.

Although France continues to send troops to the region as part of the Barkhane operation, it is having trouble finding European allies such as Germany to be part of the Takuba task force.

So far, Estonia and Denmark are the only countries to have sent troops on the ground in Mali, while the UK has sent helicopters.

Last November, the European Commission expressed its solidarity after 13 French soldiers died in Mali following the collision of two helicopters engaged in a combat mission.

In a direct message to Germany, former EU Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker said the French army was alone when defending Europe’s honour and security in Mali.

According to DW, General Dominique Trinquand, a military consultant and the former head of the French military mission to the UN, said the Sahel region should be prioritised in the fight against terrorism.

“There is a real danger that terrorists could establish a new Islamic state, a caliphate — the Sahel could become the new Syria,” he emphasised, adding that Islamist fighters could then be sent from there to Europe to commit terrorist attacks.

>>Read also: Despite plans to ban glyphosate, its sales in France increase by 10%

(EURACTIV.FR)

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