Germany army hints at early withdrawal from MINUSMA

The statement was made by the new German Defense Minister, Boris Pistorius, who was appointed on Tuesday, January 17, to…

The statement was made by the new German Defense Minister, Boris Pistorius, who was appointed on Tuesday, January 17, to replace Christine Lambrecht who resigned the day before.Germany, which had planned last November to maintain its contingent in the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) until at least May 2024, could finally withdraw it earlier. According to the new German Defense Minister, “the deployment is currently a waste of time and money.

Defense Minister Boris Pistorius – a social democrat – is considering an early withdrawal of the Bundeswehr (German armed forces) from Mali. “Under the current circumstances, staying in Mali until May 2024 makes no sense,” he said, adding in an interview with the German media outlet Süddeutsche Zeitung that one of the conditions for the German contingent to remain in MINUSMA is that Bundeswehr peacekeepers not be prevented from using drones again for a longer period. He went on to say that “the last time the drones flew was before Christmas.”

“If our soldiers cannot leave the camp or can only move in a small radius because the drones are not allowed to fly, then they are not fulfilling their mission,” he said. According to him, “this operation is a waste of money and time, especially for the soldiers who are there, far away from their families and friends.”

Since the incident that led to the arrest of 49 Ivorian soldiers in Mali, the use of drones, such as MINUSMA planes and helicopters, must be approved by Mali’s transitional authorities. However, on several occasions, these aircraft have been prevented from flying, and even if they have been allowed to do so, it has been with delay.

With the withdrawal of French-led counterterrorism forces (Barkhane and Takuba) against the backdrop of the diplomatic crisis between Bamako and Paris, MINUSMA has lost nearly 40 percent of its resources, since the security of its convoys and the provision of many other services were provided by these forces.

A decision on the future of the German contingent in Mali is expected in May. Prior to that, Minister Pistorius is expected to visit Mali in the coming weeks to learn firsthand about the situation.

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