The federal government decided a good three weeks ago to draw a line under the increasingly difficult Bundeswehr mission in Mali after ten years. German participation in the UN mission is scheduled to end by May 2024. The Bundeswehr withdrawal will be initiated as early as next summer.
Lambrecht said the Bundeswehr will support the "transition process" in Mali, where a military junta rules, until May 2024. However, this is subject to two conditions. As previously planned, elections would have to take place in February 2024. Furthermore, the Bundeswehr must also be able to fulfill its task within the framework of Minusma. Drone flights, for example, would have to be made possible for this, said the Defense Minister.
Lambrecht criticized that in the past it had happened that the Bundeswehr could not carry out its mission for eight weeks. This must not be repeated.
For his part, the Malian defense minister welcomed the fact that Germany's withdrawal was taking place in an orderly manner - in contrast to other countries, which had withdrawn uncoordinated and unannounced.
In addition to the political talks, a visit by Lambrecht to the German soldiers was also planned. The Bundeswehr is involved with more than a thousand soldiers in the UN peacekeeping mission Minusma, which has been stationed in Mali since 2013. The Mali mission is currently the most dangerous of the Bundeswehr.
Various states have already withdrawn from the UN peacekeeping mission. France, as one of the most important participants, had ended its mission. This left a large gap in Minusma's military equipment. Great Britain also announced the withdrawal of its Minusma troops.
The UN mission serves to protect the civilian population in Mali. A military government that has close ties to Russia has been in power in the West African country since last year. Around a thousand Russian mercenaries are said to be in the country. The work of the UN troops is difficult under the ruling military junta.