Ministry of Defense: Bundeswehr mission in Mali suspended

Ministry of Defense: Bundeswehr mission in Mali suspended

Status: 08/12/2022 12:39

Doubts about the Bundeswehr’s commitment to Mali have grown recently – now Germany is suspending the reconnaissance mission until further notice. The reason is disagreements with the military government of Mali. Overflight rights were again denied.

Germany is temporarily suspending the Bundeswehr mission in West Africa from Mali. The Federal Defense Ministry announced that transport flights and reconnaissance operations would be suspended until further notice. The reason given was that the Malian government had repeatedly denied the Bundeswehr overflight rights. With the flight, the on-site team must be rotated.

The behavior of the military government is hampering deployment within the scope of the UN mission, the ministry said. “A planned personnel change is therefore not possible – this has an impact on our commitment.” The safety of soldiers has the highest priority.

Basically still willing to participate

In principle, Germany is still willing to participate in the international peace mission, said government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit. However, this only makes sense if supported by the local government.

Earlier this week, the head of the political department at the Federal Foreign Office for Africa, Latin America, the Near East and the Middle East, Christian Buck, traveled to Mali for negotiations. It was then said that the Malian side had signaled that troop rotation could resume in the near future.

Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht is said to have only received assurances in a phone call to her Malian counterpart, Sadio Camara, on Thursday. Camara told the minister that there should be no further requirements for the mission – now overflight rights have been denied again, a spokesman said. “Camara’s actions speak a different language than her words,” Lambrecht criticized on Twitter.

“The work is becoming more and more difficult”, Norbert Hahn, ARD Nairobi, on the suspension of the Bundeswehr deployment in Mali

tagesschau24 12:00 pm, 12.8.2022

Largest foreign deployment of the Bundeswehr

Mali, with around 20 million people, has seen three military coups since 2012 and is considered extremely politically unstable. Since the most recent coup in May 2021, the country has been led by an interim military government tasked with maintaining close ties with Russia. Since then, the UN peacekeeping mission MINUSMA, in which the Bundeswehr is also involved, has been repeatedly undermined. The Malian government recently caused outrage over the decision to temporarily suspend the rotation of blue helmeted soldiers in the country. There were also problems with overflight rights.

Tensions also increased over the military junta’s cooperation with the Russian mercenary group Wagner, which is said to have close ties to the Kremlin and is suspected of committing massive human rights violations. France has already withdrawn most of its soldiers.

The UN MINUSMA mission has been in Mali since 2013, and the UN Security Council only extended its mandate for another year at the end of June. For the Bundeswehr, the mission is currently the largest foreign mission and is also considered the most dangerous. The Bundestag extended the mission in May – albeit with one caveat: the new mandate contains a withdrawal clause in the event that the security of Bundeswehr soldiers in Mali can no longer be guaranteed.