The Ministers of Defense of the Czech Republic, France and Estonia visited Mali

The Ministers of Defense of the Czech Republic, France and Estonia visited Mali
08 / 04 / 2021, 10:00

From Wednesday 31 March to Friday 2 April 2021, Minister of Defense Lubomír Metnar visited Mali, where Czech soldiers are serving in the EUTM Mali training mission and, since the beginning of the year, also in the Takuba task force under French Operation Barkhane.

It was a joint working trip with the French Minister of Defense Florence Parly and the Estonian Minister of Defense Kall Laanet, organized by the French side. In addition to meetings with Czech troops and bilateral meetings with his two European counterparts, Minister Metnar met with the current EUTM Commander-in-Chief, Spanish General Fernando Luis Gracia Herreiz.

"I see involvement in missions in the Sahel region as one of the building blocks of a successful fight against terrorism and illegal migration. Operating in Mali has become one of the most important foreign operations for Czech soldiers and they are doing an excellent job there. We also prove our interest in stabilization in the area by wanting to re-command the forces of the EUTM training mission in the second half of 2022. We also actively participated in the Takuba group under French command," Lubomír Metnar said.

See also: Czech Army to be deployed in the Operation Barkhane in Mali (2020-2022)

Takuba's group under Operation Barkhane was one of the main topics of the visit. Lubomír Metnar and his departmental counterparts during their stay in Mali confirmed the achievement of full operational capabilities.

Ministers visited the group's main base in Ménac in the Liptako region in the south-east of the country and agreed on the need to continue joint efforts in the region. At present, Takuba is made up of 600 soldiers from 8 European countries. The task of members of the Czech special forces and their foreign colleagues is to assist and train local security forces in the fight against terrorists.

During the trip, the Ministers of Defense of the Czech Republic, France and Estonia also met with Malian political and military representatives, namely President Bah N‘Daw, Vice President Assimi Goïta and Minister of Defense Sadio Camara.

The talks confirmed that Mali continues to face security threats from terrorist groups. International assistance needs to be continued so that the country can take responsibility for its own security in the future. The Czech Republic plans to contribute to this goal not only through military action, but also by expanding political and development activities in the area.

"This is the first time since World War II that we have resumed such significant and intensive cooperation. This makes us even stronger partners and allies," Minister Metnar said, adding: "Thank you Florence Parly for organizing the trip. We have confirmed that we are on board and working together here brings results and makes sense."

See also: Mandate for the operation of Czech soldiers in foreign missions in 2021-2023

There is now the 601st Special Forces Group deployed in Mali, which, in addition to supporting the training of its Malian counterparts, should also conduct direct combat operations within the Takuba task force, which was set up at the request of the Nigerian and Malian governments, and is integrated into the long-running French-led Operation Barkhane. Its aim is to support the governments of Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Nigeria in maintaining control of their territory and countering terrorist groups that use these territories, inter alia, to prepare for attacks against targets in Europe. The French armed forces have so far recorded loss of 41 soldiers in the operation since August 2014. More than 1,200 fighters of various Islamist groups declaring their allegiance to the Islamic state were killed or captured.

There are also two international training missions in Mali, in which the Army of the Czech Republic participates. It is a European Union training mission in Mali (EUTM), the purpose of which is to build and train the Malian army in order to be able to face terrorism in the country in the future, primarily with its own resources. The mission was launched in January 2013, with the participation of the armed forces of most European Union Member States, as well as some non-EU countries, and the Czech Republic from the beginning.

The mandate of the units was repeatedly extended, and currently there is already the 4th Task Force of the Army of the Czech Republic, consisting of 120 soldiers of the 13th Artillery Regiment (131st Artillery Battalion). From the mid-2020 to January 2021, the Czech Republic commanded the mission, and will be interested to command it in 2022 again.

The UN stabilization mission MINUSMA has also been running under the auspices of the UN in Mali since July 2013, as the third largest UN peacekeeping mission, holding a sad lead in casualties: it has claimed more than 200 lives from some 15,000 troops involved. For the years 2021-2022, according to the currently approved mandate, 15 members of the Czech Army can be deployed in the mission, currently three are involved.


Tags of article

This website uses to provide services, personalize ads, and analyzing visitor cookies. By using this site you agree.More information