In Berlin, parliament passed the federal government’s motion for an EU partnership mission with 531 votes to 102. Five MPs abstained from the roll-call vote. The Bundeswehr is to take part in the mission with up to 60 soldiers. The aim of the mission is to stabilize the country in the Sahel zone by strengthening the Nigerien armed forces in their fight against terrorist groups. The EUMPM Niger mission is to provide advice and specialist training for army specialists. Among other things, a center for the training of technicians is supported. Participation in combat missions is excluded. The mandate is limited to the end of May 2024.
The Bundeswehr remains present in the Sahel mission through the EUMPM Niger mission, after the Federal Government decided last year to phase out the mission in neighboring Mali by May 2024. The reason for this are tensions with the military regime there, which from Germany’s point of view repeatedly hinders the UN mission MINUSMA there.
Dangerous border triangle
For years, Mali has been the scene of a rebellion by Islamist extremists that began in the north of the country in 2012 and later spread to neighboring countries. The border triangle between Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso has become one of the most dangerous regions in the world. Around 1,100 Bundeswehr men and women are currently deployed in Mali as part of MINUSMA; the maximum mandate is 1,400 soldiers.
The German government justifies the new mission by saying that the security situation in the Sahel region has “deteriorated further in recent years, despite considerable international support”. “Terrorist groups have been able to expand their areas of operations to large parts of Mali, Burkina Faso and, to some extent, Niger. As a result, the threat in the border regions of the Sahel states with the coastal states has increased noticeably,” says the application that has now been approved.
Crises that aggravated each other weakened the region’s stability and development opportunities and affected Germany’s and Europe’s foreign and security policy interests. The aim of Germany’s engagement on the edge of the Sahara is to counteract a further deterioration in the situation.
kle/wa (afp, epd, dpa)