EU Launches Training Mission for Mali

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EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels today launched the EU Training Mission (EUTM Mali). Starting at the end of March, the mission will provide training and advice in unit (up to the size of battalions) capabilities, command and control, logistics, and human resources, as well as on international humanitarian law, the protection of civilians and human rights. Headquartered northeast of the Malian capital of Bamako, the mission will consist of 200 instructors, plus mission support staff and force protection, bringing its total strength up to 450. The mission's mandate is for 15 months.

German members of EUTM fact finding team arriving on 13 February (Bundeswehr photo)

EU foreign ministers already approved the creation of the EUTM during their last meeting on 17 January. Its commander is French army Brig.Gen. François Lecointre.

The announcement of the mission's launch came as French troops began withdrawing from Mali. They will be replaced not only by the Malians trained by the EUTM, but also by the 3,300-strong African-led International Support Mission to Mali (AFISMA).

Elements of the EUTM arrived in Bamako on 8 February.

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