Germany suspends its peacekeeping patrols in Mali

File photo was taken on August 3, 2018 German soldiers from the parachutist detachment of the MINUSMA (UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali) search for IED (improvised explosive device) during a patrol on the route from Gao to Gossi, Mali. (Photo: AFP)

BERLIN — Germany has again suspended its reconnaissance patrols in eastern Mali that are part of a UN peacekeeping mission after failing to get flyover rights, the military said Monday.اضافة اعلان

The permission is needed for flights between Gao, home to the German military’s main base in Mali, and Niamey, capital of neighboring Niger.

However, a spokesman added that “we assume the necessary authorization will be issued soon”.

Patrol operations had only resumed early September, following a suspension on August 12.

The initial halt came after Mali’s ruling junta denied permission for flights to support personnel rotation under the UN’s MINUSMA mission.

About 1,100 soldiers from the German military are part of the UN mission.

The German troops are in part meant to make up for the loss of French soldiers, after Paris pulled its forces out when the junta turned towards Russia in its fight against militant Islamist extremism.

The long-running insurgency has claimed thousands of lives and forced hundreds of thousands from their homes.

The arrival of Russian paramilitaries in the country on the invitation of the government was a key factor in France withdrawing its troops.

Asked last week about the future of the German military presence in Mali, Chancellor Olaf Scholz indicated his government was working on the matter “taking into account all factors”.

First of all, “security of the soldiers has to be guaranteed — this applies to the question of flyover rights, the question of using drones, the question of whether there is sufficient security to replace what the French were providing up until now,” he said.

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