The British military will leave the Mali peacekeeping deployment.




Reuters: London, November 14 - A government minister announced on Monday that Britain will leave a U.N. peacekeeping force in Mali with its 300 troops, following similar departures from other Western countries this year.


The early pullout comes as France and its military partners started removing thousands of troops from Mali this year as the country's military junta started working with Wagner Group contractors from Russia.


Diplomats worry that the Western withdrawals from Mali this year will fuel conflict, generate instability in the neighboring countries, and give Islamists more power.


Recent coups in Mali, where there has been an increase in violence by organizations affiliated with al-Qaeda and the Islamic State in recent years, have, according to British Armed Forces Minister James Heappey, damaged international attempts to assist bring about peace in the country.


When the government of the host country is unwilling to cooperate with us to bring long-lasting stability and security, the government cannot send in the military of our country to provide security, Heappey added.


He noted that the association between the Malian administration and Wagner—which has also been connected to violations of human rights—was detrimental to regional security.


Heappey affirmed that the United Nations' efforts and Britain's commitment to West Africa will not change. To reinforce the roughly 14,000-person peacekeeping deployment in Mali, the UK dispatched troops in the latter half of 2020.


An inquiry for information was not promptly answered by Souleymane Dembele, spokesman for the Mali army.


A statement made by Farhan Haq, the deputy spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, on Monday in New York was cited by the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Mali, MINUSMA.


In a press conference held on Monday in New York, Haq stated, "We are aware of the statement made by the Minister of Armed Forces to the House of Commons and we will engage with the Permanent Mission in respect to this announcement."


He continued, "We are still appreciative of the UK's support for MINUSMA.


Sachin Ravikumar reported; Tiemoko Diallo and Sofia Christensen contributed additional material from Bamako and Dakar, respectively; Andrew MacAskill and Cynthia Osterman edited the material.

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