Last Friday, representatives from the ministries of defence of Estonia, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Portugal and France announced, in a conference call led by French Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly, their readiness to send Special Forces units to Mali this summer.
Sweden and Czech Republic are also planning to contribute to Task Force Takuba, which is part of the French-led Operation Barkhane.
According to Undersecretary for Defence Policy Kadi Silde, the security situation in the Sahel region is fragile and Estonia will continue its efforts along with the international community to stabilise the situation and raise the capability of Mali’s armed forces. ‘Playing an important role in this is the creation of Task Force Takuba, a special operations unit of European countries. The Estonian Special Operations Forces are ready to deploy to Mali this summer, to assist and support Malian forces in close cooperation with French Special Operations Units,´ Silde added.
At the meeting, French Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly spoke about the results of the Pau Summit, Malian Minister of Defence Ibrahima Dhirou Dembélé and Nigerian Minister of Defence Issoufou Katambé provided an overview of the security situation in the Sahel region and emphasised the need to fight against organised armed groups organising terrorist attacks in the Liptako-Gourma region.
In addition to France, the conference was also attended by representatives from Belgium, Estonia, the Netherlands, Italy, Mali, Niger, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Germany, Finland, Denmark, the Czech Republic and the United Kingdom, who also received an overview of the current Operation Barkhane.
Estonia is currently participating in three different operations in Mali. With nearly 50 troops Estonia contribute to the French-led Operation Barkhane, our staff officers are participating in the UN peacekeeping mission MINUSMA, and staff officers and instructors are participating in the European Union’s training mission EUTM Mali.
The initial capability of Task Force Takuba is expected to be reached by summer 2020, with complete operational capability by the beginning of 2021. At the conference, the political statement of Task Force Takuba was approved. Estonia was represented by Undersecretary for Defence Policy Kadi Silde.
Additional information: press[at]kaitseministeerium[dot]ee