Germany unsure of its military cooperation with Mali’s junta
German Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht hopes to have clarity on the further deployment of the Bundeswehr in Mali by September, saying it is no longer clear if the ruling junta still welcomes their presence.
“The Malian rulers must explain whether they want to continue cooperating with the international community in the fight against terrorism, whether we are welcome.
“I currently have my doubts about this,” Mr Lambrecht told dpa on Saturday ahead of a high-ranking UN representative’s trip to Mali.
She said it was not acceptable that “harassing practices” made the work of German soldiers more difficult and, in some cases, impossible.
A contingent rotation is planned for September, meaning that most of the soldiers stationed in Mali as part of the UN peacekeeping mission MINUSMA will be replaced.
Ties between Berlin and Bamako have been strained since a military coup in Mali last year.
The situation has further deteriorated in recent months, with the junta in Mali declaring that it would not permit any personnel changes to the international forces for the time being.
Last week, Malian authorities prevented eight members of the German Armed Forces from boarding a civilian flight in an act Berlin called “harassment.”
On the other hand, the government in Mali is demanding clarification on the relationship between the German government and 49 soldiers from Ivory Coast arrested in Bamako on July 10.
The soldiers were arrested on accusations of illegally entering the country, destabilising the government in Mali and being mercenaries.
However, according to the German Defence Ministry, the forces have been deployed since 2019, with the knowledge and approval of the authorities in Mali, to guard a UN base at Bamako airport, which is also used by Germany.
On Sunday, UN Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix leaves for a five-day trip to Mali to discuss the future of MINUSMA with the local government.
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