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Coup: EU suspends Mali training missions

The EU has suspended its training missions in Mali after the armed forces seized power in a coup, officials said Wednesday.

The bloc’s diplomatic chief Josep Borrell said the measure was temporary and he hoped the missions could resume their work “as soon as possible”.

The suspension comes after the military ousted president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita last week, shocking Mali’s neighbours, which fear the fragile state already battling jihadism and an economic slump may slide into chaos.

The EU has two training missions in Mali, one working with the military and the other with civilian security forces, trying to build up the state’s ability to control its vast but unstable territory.

After EU defence ministers held talks on the Mali crisis in Berlin, Borrell said both missions have been “put temporarily on hold because circumstances don’t allow them to continue normal activity”.

Brussels officials say the EUTM mission has trained around 18,000 soldiers in Mali since it was launched in 2013, but insist that none of the main coup leaders are among them.

A senior EU official said they had no choice but to suspend the missions because their mandates are to “work with and support legitimate national authorities”.

But Borrell said the EU remained committed to helping Mali overcome its problems — not least because it does not want the country to become a launchpad for attacks on Europe itself.

“The European Union has invested a lot in Mali and we don’t want to waste this effort,” Borrell said.

“The work will continue and we will resume activities as soon as possible.”

German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, urged the coup leaders to begin the transition to civilian rule and new elections as soon as possible.

AFP

Source: punchng.com