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

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock plans to meet the head of the Malian junta this week on a trip to Mali 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 from Monday evening to Saturday and then in Niger. The purpose of this trip is mainlyget a clear picture of the political and security situationto decide whether or not to maintain the Bundeswehr, whose mandate on the ground ends in May, a ministry spokesman said. †Interviews are scheduledwith the head of the junta, Colonel Assimi Goita, and the head of diplomacy Abdoulaye Diop, the spokesman said at a press conference.

“No progress in Mali at the moment”

One of the questions of the journey is “knows how the lack of progress in Mali at the moment towards a return to democracy may affect cooperationwith this country, he added. The German defense minister was in Mali this weekend. With Annalena Baerbock’s journey, these are the first major European representatives to visit the country since the announcement of the withdrawal of French anti-jihadist forces 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 call for a return to the guarantee democracy. They also denounce the appeal by the Malian authorities to the Russian private security group Wagner. Several countries have pledged to review their participation in the United Nations Mission in Mali, Minusma, in which some 14,000 soldiers and police officers participate, as well as in the two EU training missions.

In May, members of the Bundestag will have to decide whether the Bundeswehr will continue its participation, as the government was already skeptical about it. Some 300 German soldiers are taking part 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 in Moura at the end of March 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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