Minister of Defence Jüri Luik reaffirmed Estonia's support for sending forces to Mali at a meeting with the President of the Republic of Mali, Ibrahim Boubakar Keita in Bamako.
On Monday, Luik (Isamaa) met with the president, the leadership of the UN peacekeeping mission MINUSMA, European Union Training Mission EUTM Mali, and the French-led operation Barkhane, in order to discuss the security and humanitarian situation in Mali.
Estonia was the first country to accept an invitation from the French to send special operations forces to Mali to reinforce Operation Barkhane and Malian military forces.
Their mission is primarily to provide tactical training, advice, assistance and support to local Malian units, and to provide assurance and support to Malian military forces in conducting operations. The Task Force is set to begin operations in the summer of this year.
Luik said: "The current threat level in Mali has not changed, but what we are clearly seeing lately is terrorists with the skills and capability to carry out suicide attacks, which most certainly requires the attention of our allies as well as our support in order to deal with the situation and neutralize threats quickly and effectively. Hence the need to send additional forces to Mali, which Estonia, as a responsible member of the international community, is prepared to do."
Estonia is participating in three different operations in Mali. Approximately 50 Estonians are taking part in the French-led Operation Barkhane. Staff officers and instructors from the Estonian Defence Forces are serving as part of the UN peacekeeping mission MINUSMA and with the European Union training mission EUTM Mali.
Editor: Helen Wright