The Portuguese Foreign Minister announced that the European Union’s diplomatic heads decided, today, Monday, to maintain the European Military Mission in Mali, which has been training the Malian army since 2013, pending the response of the Malian authorities.
“The Council of Foreign Affairs has considered the situation in the Sahel, in particular the situation in Mali, and there we have decided to keep the process going, and the European Union missions in Mali, while we await the response of the Malian authorities to the letter. Addressed to you by the High Representative on our behalf. [Josep Borrell]’, announced Augusto Santos Silva.
Speaking to reporters in Brussels, after a meeting of EU diplomatic chiefs, the Portuguese minister in charge said that “this answer will allow us to assess whether or not there are conditions for moving forward with the European mission”. “Or if we should take other measures,” he added, without specifying.
This position comes after the head of EU diplomacy, Josep Borrell, in mid-February, sent a mission to Mali to assess the continuation of the European military presence, which has been training the Malian army since 2013, expecting a response “in the coming days”.”.
At that time, France, together with European and African partners, announced “Coordinated” withdrawal of troops from Mali due to “multiple obstacles by the Malian transitional authorities”And continue the fight against terrorism in neighboring countries.
In a joint statement issued by the Elysée at the time, it read: “Due to the multiple obstacles of the financial transitional authorities, Canada and European countries working alongside Operation Barkhane and within Operation Takoba consider that The political, practical and legal conditions are not in place to continue the current military commitment“.
However, the fight against terrorism in the Sahel will continue, in accordance with the joint declaration also signed by Portugal, with actions “in Niger and the Gulf of Guinea”, with local consultations to Reach terms of understanding for a new mission by June 2022.
France has had one of its largest military operations in Mali since 2013, with Operation Barkhane currently including 4300 effective In the Sahel and approx. 2500 in Mali. This is not the only foreign force in the country, with a total of 25,000 foreign soldiers in different states serving in the Sahel region.
It is reported that Portugal is present with about twenty soldiers in the European Special Forces operation tacopaalong with other partners such as Germany, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Italy, Norway, the Netherlands, Romania, the United Kingdom and Sweden.
The EU military mission in Mali has a total of 1,100 men who have trained at least 15,000 Malian soldiers since its launch in February 2013.
This mission is expected to end in May 2024, with the participation of 22 member states, including Portugal.
The operation is in its fifth period and lasts for four years, for which a Budget 133.7 million euros.
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