German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has planned to meet the head of the Malian junta during a trip to Mali this week as Berlin plans to withdraw its soldiers from the country, her ministry said on Monday (April 11th).
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The Minister will be in Mali then in Niger from Monday evening to Saturday. The purpose of this trip is, in particular,get a clear idea of the political and security situationin order to decide whether or not to maintain the Bundeswehr, whose mandate on the spot expires in May, according to a spokesman for the ministry. “Interviews are scheduledwith the head of the junta, Colonel Assimi Goïta, and the head of diplomacy Abdoulaye Diop, said this spokesman during a press conference.
“Currently no progress in Mali”
One of the questions of the trip is “know what consequences the fact that there is currently no progress in Mali on the way to a return to democracy may have on cooperationwith this country, he added. The German Defense Minister was in Mali this weekend. With Annalena Baerbock’s trip, these are the first major European representatives to visit the country since the announcement of the withdrawal of the French anti-jihadist force Barkhane and the European Takuba system in February.
In Mali, where violence by jihadist groups and militias has claimed thousands of lives since 2012, the military seized power in two coups in August 2020 and then in May 2021. Westerners are urging the junta to guarantee a return to democracy. They also denounce the call made by the Malian authorities to the Russian private security group Wagner. Several countries have undertaken to review their participation in the United Nations mission in Mali, Minusma, which includes some 14,000 soldiers and police, as well as in the two EU training missions.
In May, members of the Bundestag must decide whether the Bundeswehr will continue its participation, the government having already expressed its skepticism on the subject. Some 300 German soldiers participate in the European Union Training Mission in Mali (EUTM), and 1,100 soldiers in Minusma. During her visit this weekend, Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht called for an investigation into the “atrocitiescommitted in Moura (center). The Malian junta claims to haveneutralized203 jihadists at the end of March in Moura where testimonies, collected by the press or the NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW), report the mass execution of civilians by the Malian army.
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