The Danish government has announced that Danish soldiers who landed in Mali on Monday should prepare to return home again.
– The coup generals sent a public statement confirming that Denmark is not welcome in Mali, said Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod (S).
– We can’t stand it. So we decided to bring our soldiers home.
According to the foreign minister, the decision has the support of a wide majority in Parliament.
The withdrawal is expected to take “several weeks” to complete.
“The military council bears the responsibility”
A Danish force of 90 soldiers arrived on Monday to take part in Operation Takuba, a multinational division.
That same evening, the government of Mali – the military junta that seized power – declared it unwelcome. The military council said Denmark had not received official approval to send soldiers there.
Jeppe Kofod said earlier this week that Denmark is in place on the back of a clear invitation and a clear basis and confirmed that Denmark has received invitations from both the previous and current government in Mali.
This view is shared at least by France, whose foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, said the junta’s decision was irresponsible.
– The military government is not legitimate and takes irresponsible decisions. He says he bears full responsibility for the withdrawal of Danish forces.
Anne Lind is worried
Swedish Foreign Minister Anne Linde wrote on Twitter:
“Sweden regrets that due to the decision of the transitional government in Mali, Denmark was forced to withdraw its military contingent from Task Force Takoba. We remain in close contact with our international partners to discuss the possible consequences of Takoba’s efforts. We are concerned about the development.”
Sweden contributes about 220 soldiers and officers to the UN operation MINUSMA, 150 to Task Force Takoba and with eight officers to the EUTM Mali EUTM training and education effort.
These international efforts are aimed at combating jihadist rebels in the Sahel region. This was done for a long time in cooperation with the Malian army, but since the army seized power in Mali and postponed future democratic elections, relations with the countries in question have broken down. Another aggravating factor is that mercenaries from the Russian security company Wagner came to Mali to fight on the side of the army.
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