European Union hands over training mission in Mali to a new general

The European Union training mission (EUTM) in Mali has handed over its operation to a new general in a ceremony held in the Capital, Bamako on Tuesday December 22nd, 2021. The ceremony saw the attendance of European ambassadors, Malian officials and other invited guests.

Speaking at the ceremony, the new commander, Christian Riener said “it is a great honour for me to serve in this mission, and I have great respect for the Malian people and the Malian soldiers. The mission is very critical.”

“We are working for the benefit of the G5 joint force, we are doing training, and we are also going to provide them with equipment. Within this framework, we have priority countries outside Mali, but I want to say that Mali remains our first priority, without a doubt,” added Hervé Bléjean, director general of the European Union Military Staff.

This handing over ceremony follows an earlier event held by the French army to hand over the keys to a military base around Timbuktu to Mali officials as part of plans to reduce its military presence in the Sahel region. Currently, France aims to reduce its 5,100 Soldiers in the Sahel to about 3000.

General Etienne du Peyroux, head of France’s Operation Barkhane in Mali said at the handing over event that, France “will be present in a different way”. He added that, “this is ultimately the aim of Operation Barkhane: To allow Mali to take its destiny into its own hands … but always in partnership.”

The European Union Training Mission (EUTM) in Mali was established in 2013 and mandated to provide services including training, advisory and support to the Malian forces.

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