Estonia's first ever ambassador to the West African nation of Mali has presented her credentials to that country's president, Bah N'Daw. Estonia regularly contributes to a peacekeeping force in Mali, part of the French-led Operation Barkhane.
Ingrid Amer will be the first to hold the post; she presented her credentials to President N'Daw at a ceremony held via remote link-up on Monday, the foreign ministry says.
Following the presentation ceremony, the president and ambassador discussed bilateral relations between the two nations, and ways in which ties could be enhanced further.
President N'Daw said that the appointment of an Estonian ambassador to Mali represented a great step forward. Dialogue with Estonia is important both for bilateral relations as well as in light of Estonia's current non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council (UNSC), which is in its second year (of two).
Mali key African nation for Estonia
Ambassador Amer also presented Estonia's recently completed Africa strategy, which lists Mali as a priority. President Kersti Kaljulaid has in pre-pandemic times visited several West African nations, including Senegal and Benin, as well as others on the continent including Ethiopia and Algeria, regularly talking regional and digital security, and the e-state.
President N'Daw also extended an invitation to Kersti Kaljulaid to visit Mali in person.
Estonia is currently involved in two other missions aimed at bolstering Mali's security in addition to Operation Barkhane, via UN peacekeeping mission MINUSMA and EU training mission EUTM.
Barkhane sees a platoon from the Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) regularly based in the city of Gao, where it provides patrolling and other key tasks.
Operation Barkhane itself covers several Sahel nations in addition to Mali, and is mainly aimed at counter-terrorism and anti-human trafficking activities.
Estonia's rationale for working with the EU in the region and in so doing helping to guarantee the union's southern frontier is also somewhat of a trade-off for allied aid in securing the EU's eastern frontier, in Estonia itself, as well as Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, via initiatives including NATO Baltic Air Policing Duties – generally carried out by the air forces of various EU nations – and NATO's Enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battlegroup, which is U.K.-led but which also sees contributions from EU countries including Denmark and France.
Ingrid Amer, who will continue to reside in Tallinn during her ambassadorship, met president of Mali's transition council Malick Diawi, Defense Minister Sadio Camara and Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Boubacar Gouro Diallo.
Malian representatives expressed their gratitude for Estonia's support and an interest in knowledge sharing about strengthening the state, public services and the education field.
The ambassador also met her EU counterpart to Mali Bart Ouvry and head of EUTM Brgi. Fernando Gracia, and visited the mission's training centre in Koulikoro. During her visit, Ambassador Amer also presented a letter of appreciation from the foreign minister of Estonia to Eva Diallo, the long-time honorary consul of Estonia in Mali.
Ingrid Amer's resume includes stints in Estonia's embassies in Warsaw, Helsinki, Paris and Prague
She has also worked in several ministry departments and is currently the Director of the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America Division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Editor: Andrew Whyte