The government in Berlin has decided to prolong Germany’s participation in the UN’s Mali mission and send additional troops to make up for France’s withdrawal.
The government cabinet has decided to extend the Bundeswehr’s participation in the UN’s MINUSMA mission in Mali and the European Training Mission in Mali and Niger (EUTM) for another year, the defence ministry announced on Wednesday.
“MINUSMA is the only reliable anchor of stability and security in the Sahel region,” the defence ministry said in a statement.
The government also decided to raise Germany’s maximum contingent of troops participating in the mission from 1,100 to 1,400 to make up for the withdrawal of French troops. In February, French President Emmanuel Macron announced that the country would end its counterterrorism mission in Mali, following disagreements with the country’s military junta.
The cabinet’s decision also gives Berlin greater flexibility as it wants to be able to quickly withdraw troops in case the security situation in Mali deteriorates further.
Meanwhile, Germany will reduce its contribution to the EUTM mission, which has been frozen in Mali due to the recent tensions. Troops have mostly shifted to neighbouring Niger.
The government decided to halt military training activities in Mali because it does “not see any chance of free, democratic elections in the country in the near future,” the defence ministry has said. There are also worries that German-trained Malian soldiers cooperate with forces from the Russian mercenary outfit, the Wagner group.
The government’s decision is still conditional upon approval by the German parliament.