The European Union on Wednesday suspended its training missions in Mali a week after a military coup ousted President Ibrahim Keita, Reuters reports.
When Mali was struggling to regain control from a rebellious lot known as the Tuaregs in 2012, the EU sent 600 soldiers from 28 member-states and non-member-states, to train and fight along with Mali’s army against the terrorists.
The EU military mission (EUTM Mali) was followed by a civilian mission to give advice and train Mali’s internal security forces—the police, Gendarmerie and National Guard— to further stabilise the country, in 2014.
Following the military coup that has been widely condemned, the two missions have been frozen because they were designed to support “the legitimate national authorities,” one EU official told Reuters.
‘Suspension is temporary’
EU defence ministers meeting in Berlin on Wednesday will discuss the situation in Mali, the officials said.
The suspension comes after the United States had withdrawn its military cooperation in Mali in the wake of the military takeover.
Since the coup, Mali has been under pressure from the international community that is pressing for a quick return to civilian rule. Sanctions have been dashed out on the West African state that is also battling insurgency.
Just a day after the coup, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) suspended Mali from its membership and halted financial inflows into the country.
The move followed several mediation efforts by the regional bloc led by Nigeria’s former president Goodluck Jonathan, to stop the unrest that began earlier this year when the opposition held protests against the ousted President for what they called an inept rule.
Again, the regional bloc has held unsuccessful talks with the military junta as part of efforts to make it agree to immediately return the country to civilian rule.
The military junta pledged to oversee a transition via elections in a “reasonable” amount of time. It remains unclear how soon it will be.
In another development, Mali has been suspended from a global body of French-speaking countries as a response to the coup.
The 88-member International Organisation of La Francophonie (OIF) on Tuesday decided on the suspension after holding an emergency meeting to discuss the situation in Mali, an official statement said.
The statement by the group’s secretary general, Louise Mushikiwabo, said OIF would send a high-level delegation to Mali’s capital, Bamako, in the coming days to evaluate the situation.
It pledged to continue cooperation “that directly benefits the civilian population” and called for the release of Mr Keita and other officials arrested by the coup leaders.
The group also called for the immediate creation of a civilian-run transitional government.
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