6 February 2014

Mali: German Defense Minister Expresses Support for Mali Rebuilding

Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen has reaffirmed Germany's support for Mali's new government. During a visit to Bamako, she expressed "great respect for the method and manner" the country has rebuilt its democracy.

On Thursday, von der Leyen said that Germany wanted to help Mali get back on track as it rebuilds following an internal conflict that ended last year with French military intervention.

"This is above all important for the young generation," she told reporters after meeting with Malian Defense Minister Soumeylou Boubeye.

"The principle has to be help people help themselves, because this young democracy can only be stable if Mali has secured the skills for itself," said von der Leyen, who traveled to Mali a day after meeting with German soldiers in Senegal.

Troop mandate 'clearly defined'

Germany has had about 100 Bundeswehr troops stationed in the country since last summer as part of the European Union's EUTM Mali mission. Von der Leyen, who is on her first trip to Africa since taking office last month, reiterated Thursday that their job was to train Malian soldiers and provide medical support.

"Our mandate is clearly defined," she said.

Following her reception in Bamako, von der Leyen traveled to meet with soldiers at the German military's camp in Koulikoro, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) northeast of the capital.

Boubeye said the Malian military's cooperation with the Bundeswehr had been "exemplary and fruitful."

"The German instructurs play an essential role," he added.

'Potential for danger' remains

In January 2013, French troops intervened in the Malian government's fight against Islamist insurgents in the country's restive northern region. France helped to largely defeat the rebel fighters, though Mali continues to struggle for stability.

Though the country is now in a state of relative security, von der Leyen said the "potential for danger is still there."

"We have to stay vigilant, and pushing back [the rebels] doesn't mean that the problem is solved," she said.

- AFP, dpa


Gunmen Attack UN Base in Northern Mali

Unidentified gunmen have attacked a base for UN peacekeepers in the northern Mali town of Kidal, a peacekeeper at the … see more »

Copyright © 2014 Deutsche Welle. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 1,700 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.