Germany to Withdraw Troops From Mali by May 2024

Germany to Withdraw Troops From Mali by May 2024 (News Central TV)

After a ten-year mission, Germany will begin to withdraw its troops from Mali in the middle of next year. The evacuation is expected to be finished by May 2024, according to a ministry spokesperson.

The majority of the 1,000 German troops that have been sent to Mali are stationed close to the northern town of Gao, where their main duty is to conduct reconnaissance for the MINUSMA U.N. peacekeeping effort.

Due to ongoing disagreements with the Bamako military junta and the entrance of Russian forces in Gao, which increased Berlin’s concern over a growing Russian military presence in Mali, the German mission’s future has been in doubt for some time.

For the last time, in May 2023, the government agreed to extend the mission’s mandate by one year in order to secure a planned exit, according to government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit.

“In particular, the elections in Mali scheduled for February 2024 will be taken into account,” said Hebestreit.

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Following discussions between Olaf Scholz, the German chancellor, Christine Lambrecht, the defense minister, and Annalena Baerbock, the foreign minister, who disagreed on the matter, the decision was made.

Olaf Scholz

While the foreign ministry warned against leaving Mali to an expanding Russian presence and pressed for German troops to stay, the defense ministry had pushed for a departure.

“It will be a very orderly withdrawal from Mali – without losing sight of the transition process in Mali,” Lambrecht said. “As there are elections scheduled in Feb 2024, we will stay over these elections, but we will start the withdrawal in summer next year.”

The May 2024 timetable, which was first mentioned in Spiegel magazine, is a compromise because it guarantees that German troops will still be stationed in Mali during a presidential election.

The Mali military junta said in June that elections will be held and civilian governance would be reinstated within a two-year window beginning in March 2022.

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The United Nations said it has not yet received official notification of the German withdrawal, adding MINUSMA and the people of Mali needed the continued support of other countries.

“The mission is currently assessing the impact of these withdrawals on its operations, and we are already in discussions with a number of countries in order to fill any gaps,” deputy U.N. spokesperson Farhan Haq said.

By mid-November, Britain had become the most recent Western nation to declare its intention to withdraw its 300 troops from Mali.

While MINUSMA was founded in 2013 to assist international and local forces battling extremists, there have been numerous instances of friction between the Malian government and the mission recently.

Around 12,000 military men are stationed in the nation with MINUSMA. Chad, Bangladesh, and Egypt are the three countries that contribute the most.

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Since a military takeover in 2020 and the government’s invitation of fighters from the Wagner Group, a private military firm connected to the Kremlin, to assist in its war against militants, relations between Europe and Mali have deteriorated. After nearly ten years in Mali, France decided to withdraw its troops earlier this year as a result.

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