Germany says it is ready to increase its military contingent in Mali as part of the United Nations mission (Minusma), announced on May 11, 2022 Christiane Hoffmann, government spokesperson. She was speaking after a meeting of the Council of Ministers which endorsed the extension of the mandate of the German contingent until May 31, 2023. The German Parliament has yet to give the green light to this decision.

Mandate extended until 2023

“The current number of 1,100 soldiers has been increased by 300” and raised to an authorized ceiling of 1,400, in particular to compensate for the departure of French forces, said Christiane Hoffmann. Berlin had set a few conditions, saying it was ready to continue its participation in the Minusma, 14,000 soldiers strong, “if the UN ensured that the gaps created by the French withdrawal were filled to ensure the safety of German soldiers”German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht said on May 4, 2022.

Termination of the training mission

On the other hand, Berlin withdrew from the European Training Mission for Malian Soldiers (EUTM) in which 328 German soldiers participated. The European Union mission ceased training for the Malian army and the national guard in April 2022, as the political conditions were no longer met. This training mission will however resume elsewhere in the Sahel “with a focus on Niger”said Christiane Hoffman.

The question of the future of Minusma arose after the announcement of the withdrawal of the French forces which provided air support to this force. In recent months, diplomatic relations between Bamako and Paris have indeed deteriorated sharply. The French Ministers of Foreign Affairs and the Armed Forces, Jean-Yves Le Drian and Florence Parly, denounced the character “unacceptable” of a possible deployment of Wagner’s Russian mercenaries in Mali, judged “incompatible” with the presence of thousands of French soldiers.

A strengthened mandate for Minusma

Several countries have undertaken to review their participation in Minusma. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said Mali risks collapse if the UN withdraws its peacekeepers, but backs a stronger mandate from the Security Council for an African force.

The future of the Minusma and the possible “strengthening of its mandate” must be discussed at the Security Council in New York next June.

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