Germany has ended its reconnaissance mission in Mali in support of the UN

As quoted by DPA, Germany is suspending its military mission in Mali until further notice, the German Ministry of Defense announced.

The reason is a dispute with the local authorities, who have once again withdrawn the permission they issued for the German army to fly in Malian airspace in order to rotate the troops, according to Reuters.

“The Malian government has once again refused to authorize a flight scheduled for today (Friday),” a spokesman said
of the Ministry of Defense in Berlin, adding that some personnel was to be replaced with him.

Berlin has deployed about 1,000 troops in Mali, most of them near the northern city of Gao, where their main task is to gather intelligence for the 12,000-strong UN peacekeeping mission MINUSMA.

MINUSMA – The UN’s Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali, was established in 2013 to support foreign and local troops fighting Islamist militants, but in recent months there have been repeated incidents of tension between Malian authorities and the world’s peacekeeping forces. organization.

German government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit said Germany was ready in principle to participate in an international peacekeeping mission, but only if the Malian government supported it. For now, Berlin is suspending the reconnaissance part of its mission until further notice.

The decision came after it emerged that the overflight ban remained in place, despite German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht receiving assurances in a telephone conversation with her Malian counterpart Sadio Kamara on Thursday that the right to fly would be restored.

In early August, the Malian authorities refused to grant flight permits to Bundessphere aircraft but later reversed their decision.

The junta that seized power in Bamako in 2020 also temporarily suspended rotations of MINUSMA troops in July, days after the arrest of 49 Ivorian soldiers who authorities said had entered the country without permission, Reuters recalled.

Mali, with a population of about 20 million, has experienced three military coups since 2012. Since the latest coup in May 2021, the country has been ruled by a transitional military government that is said to have close ties to Russia.

Relations between Mali’s ruling junta and former colonial power France have soured significantly in recent months, notably following the arrival in the African country of fighters from the Russian private military company Wagner. It has left the two countries at risk of severing ties after a nine-year French military presence in Mali that has been in support of authorities’ efforts to tackle jihadist groups.

France’s Burhan forces are currently in the process of completing their withdrawal from the country after announcing in February that they could not continue their involvement due to deteriorating relations with the authorities, who invited Russian mercenaries to replace their previous partners.

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