12 February 2016

Mali: In Mali Visit President Joachim Gauck Calls for Development and Security

President Joachim Gauck has called for economic, social and security efforts from the Malian government to help stabilize the region. Berlin is sending 650 Bundeswehr soldiers to support the country's war against terror.

"We have done our bit with the announcement of our military contingent" Gauck said after talks with Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in the capital, Bamako.

Military action alone would not be enough to control the terror caused by militants, rebels and criminals in the country, Gauck said during his visit on Friday. Mali's government also needed to provide job options for the youth and better water, medical and food facilities for people in the region, he said.

German training for Mali's soldiers

Mali's President thanked Germany for its long friendship and support. "Only in times of need do you realize who your friends are," Boubacar Keita said. Not only Mali, but the whole world was in jeopardy because of Islamist terrorists, he said. "We want to win this war against terror together," he added.

The German president also visited Bundeswehr troops in Bamako and in Koulikoro, an army camp 60 kilometers away from the capital. Around 200 German soldiers are working with the European Union Training Mission (EUTM) in Mali to train its forces.

Germany has promised up to 650 soldiers to support Malian forces in their fight against rebels and terrorists in the country's north.Some 40 Bundeswehr troops are already stationed in the former rebel stronghold of Gao in Mali's north, monitored by 900 soldiers of the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali, MINUSMA.

Mali has been a regular target for Islamic militants and Tuareg rebels, who have been fighting for control of the country's north. Shortly before Gauck's visit on Friday, alleged Islamists shot rockets at UN peacekeepers, killing three troops and injuring 30 others.

mg/jm (dpa, AFP)

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