Defense Minister Olongren wants to “take a serious look” at a new Dutch contribution to the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali. During her visit to the West African country, the minister said that Germany had contacted our country informally about this matter.
With the departure of the French in September, the UN mission will lose about 40 percent of its combat capability. Mali is a former French colony, and relations between the two countries have deteriorated recently.
Olungren visited, among other things, the Dutch Blue Helmets who are still in Mali, but will soon return home. They have supported MINUSMA’s mission for the past six months with a Hercules transport plane and about 90 soldiers. In the past, Dutch combat helicopters were also active.
It’s worse without the United Nations
“Things are not going well in Mali,” concluded Olungren, who also spoke to local authorities. “We are really very concerned. The country has to deal with terrorism and it is an insecure country. What we really want is a transition to a democratically elected government.”
However, she says, the UN mission is not a failure. “The mission contributes to stability. Without the mission, the people in Mali would be worse off.”
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