Romania might send troops as part of the European joint military mission due to take action in the Western African country of Mali, the Romanian Foreign Minister Titus Corlatean said in Brussels, as the European Union has given the go-ahead for a 15-month
The international crisis in Mali, one of Africa’s poorest countries, bears the hallmark of Al-Qaeda. An armed group linked to the terrorist network has taken hostage many foreign citizens working for a British oil compound in the neighboring state of Algeria, in retaliation for the air and ground intervention of French troops against the Mali-based Islamist pockets of resistance. Romania is one of the countries whose citizens are among the hostages. The Romanian government has announced it has set up a crisis cell, at national level, with responsibilities related to the case.
The recent crisis prompted an extraordinary meeting in Brussels, where the EU foreign ministers gave the go-ahead for a mission to form and reorganize the army in Mali, made of 200 military trainers and 250 security agents. The mission is assigned to train government forces in their fight against Islamist rebels. France, the country that used to have control over Mali in the colonial era, has announced the number of its military officially called on the ground will reach as many as 2,500 from their present number of military, which stands at more than 1,400. The Romanian Foreign Minister Titus Corlatean who attended the aforementioned reunion, has said Romania might participate in the European military operation in Mali.
Titus Corlatean: ” We are at a rather advanced stage of institutional reflection and analysis regarding a specific contribution to the European Union’s operation, and I’m speaking about that as a feasible likelihood. We can speak about personnel with specific responsibilities for the preparation and training of the respective army, it may well be that we can dispatch General Staff elements and equipment, or training logistics. As for me, talks and information I received at the meeting beefed up my stance on the necessity of Romania’s contribution with respect to a required endeavor to fight terrorism.”
Romania’s Foreign Minister went on to say that in the wake of the Brussels meeting he held talks with his counterparts who were interested in the situation in Algeria. Corlatean agreed to permanently maintaining contact regarding the hostages’ condition. The Romanian Foreign Minister condemned the action perpetrated by the terrorist groups that generate and support violence and religious extremism, all that leading up to an enhanced risk to undermine the political situation in the entire sub-Saharan region.
Titus Corleatean also said one of the European Union’s main priorities should be to restore stability and territorial integrity to the Republic of Mali. The Romanian Foreign Minister emphasized that the European Union must carry on with its support for the authorities in Bamako, in a bid to secure the country’s return to constitutional order, holding general elections as soon as possible.