Estonian troops to leave Mali by end of June
The Estonian Defense Forces unit based in Mali will return home by Midsummer's Day, Undersecretary of Defense Policy of the Ministry of Defense Tuuli Duneton has said. A new mission may be sent to the region in the future.
Duneton said Western countries have not managed to improve the situation in Mali and there is no change after the junta last year.
"And that is why the French-led coalition decided to leave Mali. Estonia's infantry group and special operations unit are also leaving. The Estonian contingent will return home by Jaanipäev," Duneton said.
The official said it is possible Estonia will participate in another French-led operation in the region, listing Niger or Burkina Faso as possibilities.
She said the threat of terrorism and terrorists traveling to Europe would provide the basis for a new mission.
"Such plans are currently being discussed with the governments of various African countries," said Duneton. Estonia does not currently have the legal right or political agreements to send troops to these countries, she said.
France said in February its troops would withdraw from Mali.
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Editor: Helen Wright