Mali: Germany's Maas Calls for Renewed International Effort to Stabilize Mali

UN peacekeepers from Chad patrol the streets of Kidal, Mali, December 2016.

Germany has pledged to expand its commitment to UN peacekeeping missions in the Sahel area of Africa, which has been ravaged by violence. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas called on other countries to join in the effort.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas called for an international effort to stabilize the Sahel region in Africa. The area has seen escalating regional violence and terrorism in recent years.

Maas pledged that Germany would continue and expand in its commitment to the United Nations' MINUSMA peacekeeping missions in the West African nation of Mali.

"We are calling on other UN member states to participate in the MINUSMA," Maas told an online meeting of the UN's Security Council. The situation in Mali "continues to pose a threat to world peace and international security," he said.

France and Germany are currently working on a joint initiative in the area.

"Germany and France have launched a partnership for security and stability in the Sahel, in which the EU will play a leading role. Together, our two countries work hand in hand for peace and security," he wrote on Twitter after the meeting.

Danger extends to Europe

The German parliament in May voted to extend participation in the MINUSMA mission, considered one of the most dangerous peacekeeping operations in the world. It was set up in 2013 and comprises 12,000 soldiers and 1,700 police officers.

The US withdrew troops from the mission early in the year.

Terrorists groups regularly attack civilians and security forces, Maas said, emphasizing the risk not only to countries in the area but also to Europe.

"However, our international efforts will only succeed if all Malian actors also work together for a better future of their people," Maas added.

The Sahel area of Africa lies south of the Sahara and in addition to Mali includes parts of Senegal, Mauritania, Niger, Chad and Sudan.

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