Romania is among the countries that will take part in a EU military training mission in Mali due to start next month.
Romania will send 10 military to take part in the EU military training mission in Mali, the African country confronted with an Islamist rebellion. The decision has been taken by the Higher Defense Council, who says that Romania’s participation in the EU mission with military trainers and staff complies with the country’s obligations as EU member state and with its commitment to supporting the Union’s pledge to fight terrorism and organized crime.
The EU mission in Mali, to include 500 military staff from 15 countries might become fully operational by mid-March, the French Defense Minister has stated recently. In the first year, 650 Malian soldiers will attend the training courses. France launched a military operation in Mali on January 11, to block the advance towards the south of the Islamist groups that had been controlling northern Mali for more than 9 months. Since the French intervention in Mali, the northern cities of Gao and Tombouctou were freed of Islamists while in Kidal, in the northeast, the French soldiers have taken hold of the airport.
As many as 1800 military from Ciad are securing the city. According to the French authorities, several hundred Islamist fighters have been killed in over three weeks of fighting. Paris plans to withdraw its troops from the region this March if the situation allows it. France, which has deployed over 4000 soldiers in Mali, says that granting the security, territorial integrity and sovereignty of Mali is the duty of the African troops. This African force should be made up of about 6000 soldiers, of which only 2000 are already in Mali.
The first stage of the French operations in Mali has been a success, as the terrorist groups’ advance into the country was stopped and the northern cities were taken back, the French authorities say, without minimizing however the security risks in the region. As far as Romania is concerned, its participation in the EU military training mission in Mali confirms its commitment to supporting the fight against terrorism and ensuring international security alongside its European and Euro Atlantic partners.
The tragic events that took place in January this year have proven again that terrorist acts are possible anywhere in the world and for this reason terrorist groups have to be dismantled wherever they may be. We recall that dozens of foreign employees of a natural gas facility in Algeria, among whom two Romanians, were killed during a hostage taking operation staged by a terrorist group, in response to the French intervention in Mali.