Germany plans to step up its engagement within the framework of the MINUSMA peacekeeping mission, with deployment, not earlier than March 2017, of combat and transport helicopters and up to 350 additional soldiers. The new mandate was adopted by the cabinet on 11 January and still needs to be approved by the German Bundestag.
In 2012, Islamist groups managed to gain control of large parts of northern Mali and make some advances into the south of the country. In response to a request from the Government of Mali, France decided in favour of military intervention in early 2013. Although the Islamist militias were driven away, the threat to state order posed by terrorist groups remains. This is why the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) was established in 2013 with a view to stabilising peace.
Germany was involved in the mission from the outset – both financially as the fourth-largest contributor and with personnel on the ground. The primary task of the German soldiers is to shed light on the activities of Islamist terrorist groups and on other factors hindering the implementation of the peace agreement.
According to the cabinet decision, Germany will step up its engagement: from March 2017 at the earliest, it will provide four combat and four transport helicopters for operations in Mali. Up to 350 additional service members will be deployed as helicopter maintenance and operations personnel. This will bring to 1000 the number of German military personnel in the UN mission. The total force strength of the mission is 15,000 (military personnel and police officers).
Multi-faceted German engagement: EUTM, EUCAP Sahel Mali, and development cooperation
In addition to participating in MINUSMA, Germany is also working on other levels to stabilise Mali, for example as part of the EU Training Mission in Mali, which serves to strengthen the Malian armed forces in the long term.
Since April 2014, military training assistance as part of the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy has been flanked by the civilian training mission EUCAP Sahel Mali. Its focus is to provide training and advice to the police force, the Garde Nationale and the Gendarmerie, also on the rule of law and the respect of human rights. Alongside civilian experts, Germany is currently providing the Head of Mission, Ambassador Albrecht Conze.
In addition to these missions, Germany is engaged in humanitarian assistance and development cooperation. The aim is to sustainably improve conditions for people in Mali, as well as for the many refugees. These efforts include strengthening civil society, promoting the national reconciliation process, decentralisation and agriculture, as well as improving the water supply situation.