French Mission in Mali ’Is Not Without Risk’
French President François Hollande’s rapid decision last week to take an active role in preventing Islamist fighters from pushing into southern Mali caught the international community off guard. Now, however, more and more countries are lining up to support the Paris offensive, which entered its fourth day on Monday.
And Germany, on Monday, unexpectedly became one of them. The government in Berlin has announced that it is prepared to provide cargo planes as well as medical personnel. Andreas Peschke, spokesman for the Foreign Ministry in Berlin, said that Germany did not want to “leave France alone in this difficult hour.”On Sunday, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said that several other allies, including the United States, Britain, Denmark and other countries in Europe, had offered assistance, though none have indicated a willingness to send troops and warplanes. The US has offered communications, transportation and intelligence support. Sources in Copenhagen on Monday told the German news agency DPA that Denmark was considering the provision of active support. Several African countries have pledged to send troops as well.
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle on Sunday once again ruled out the deployment of German troops. “The involvement of a German fighting force is not up for debate,” he said. Still, Berlin has voiced support for the French offensive. “France has acted and that was decisive, correct and deserves our support,” German Defense Minster Thomas de Maizière said on German radio on Monday.
Germany also remains involved in a European Union effort to develop plans for a military training mission to Mali. On Sunday, Westerwelle said: “The development of plans for an EU training mission for the Malian military will continue. Whether and how Germany will participate will be decided when the plans are complete.”
- Germany mulls medical, logistic Mali aid (bigpondnews.com)
- France renews Mali air strikes (bbc.co.uk)
- Germany mulls medical, logistic Mali aid (news.com.au)
- A Look at What Countries Are Contributing to Mali (abcnews.go.com)
- Mali rebels retreat in east: France (gulfnews.com)
- Mali Islamists Hit in Lightning Strikes by French (aworldchaos.wordpress.com)