Germany to withdraw troops from Mali in 2024 – POLITICO

BERLIN — Germany will start withdrawing its troops stationed in Mali next year for a UN peacekeeping mission, the government in Berlin announced on Tuesday, amid growing Islamist activity and military presence Russian in this West African country.

The German government decided to start its withdrawal in the summer of 2023 at a meeting on Tuesday between Chancellor Olaf Scholz and his foreign, defense and development ministers, with full phase-out by May 2024 – marking the end of the Bundeswehr’s biggest current foreign policy. deployment. The goal, said Scholz spokesman Steffen Hebestreit, is to gradually leave the country “in a structured way”, taking into account Mali’s elections scheduled for February 2024.

Mali has experienced three military coups since 2012. Since the last coup in May 2021, a military government has ruled the country. Berlin had previously announced in August that it would suspend its military mission there, before resuming patrols in September, as relations deteriorated between Germany and the military junta, which has become increasingly belligerent towards the West. More recently, Mali’s leaders have turned to the Kremlin-linked Wagner mercenary group in an effort to maintain order.

The UK also said last week that it would withdraw its troops from Mali six months ahead of schedule, and France decided to withdraw its troops earlier this year after nearly a decade in the country.

Germany’s current mandate in Mali ends in May 2023. Hebestreit said the government will then ask the German parliament to approve a final one-year extension of the mission.

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