The head of German diplomacy in Mali before a possible withdrawal of the Bundeswehr

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has planned to meet Mali’s junta chief during a trip to Mali this week as Berlin plans to withdraw its soldiers from the country, her ministry said on Monday (April 11 ).

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The Minister will be in Mali and then in Niger from Monday afternoon to Saturday. The purpose of this trip is, in particular,have a clear idea of ​​the political and security situationto decide whether or not to keep the Bundeswehr, whose mandate on the ground expires in May, according to a ministry spokesman. “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 there is no progress in Mali”

One of the questions of the trip is “to know what consequences the fact that there is currently no progress in Mali on the path towards 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 urge the junta to guarantee the return to democracy. They also denounce the call made by the Malian authorities to the Russian private security group Wagner. Several countries have agreed 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 continues its involvement, as the government has expressed skepticism. 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), denounce the massive execution of civilians by the Malian army.

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