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Merkel rules out German combat troops in Mali

Published: 16 Jan 2013 06:18 GMT+01:00

"We are considering whether to provide logistics support or humanitarian aid," Merkel told public broadcaster NDR late Tuesday in her first public comments on the situation in Mali.

Germany might also provide transportation assistance for the French military offensive aimed at stemming the advance of Islamists in Mali, added the chancellor.

She also stressed the danger of letting Mali fall into the hands of extremists.

"Failed states can mean drug smuggling, terrorist attacks and new floods of refugees, therefore it would not be right simply to refuse an international request for aid," she said.

If the rebels were to get the upper hand, then the desired political process towards peace would become impossible, Merkel cautioned. At the same time she recalled that Germany has other commitments, such as Afghanistan where it is the third largest provider of foreign troops with around 4,300 military personnel.

"One should not forget that Germany is militarily very active in other areas, for example in Afghanistan and in Kosovo, where other countries are not so active," she said.

"We need to ensure that our other missions can continue safely and then the military can decide what offer we can make, for example, in terms of transporters," Merkel stressed.

Plans were currently "not finalized" but she emphasised that Germany "had no intention of participating in the combat operations."

Separately, German Defence Minister Thomas de Maiziere said in a statement that Berlin was still working out, in coordination with France, exactly what form its aid to the mission could take.

"The support could be logistic, medical and humanitarian, so it does not just involve the Defence Ministry but also other departments," the minister said.

On Wednesday, Merkel was to meet with Ivory Coast's President Alassane Ouattara, current head of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which is coordinating the African intervention in the conflict.

On Friday, France launched a campaign of air bombardments to halt a rebel southward advance seen as threatening the Malian capital Bamako.

A contingent of 750 French troops has been sent to bolster Malian forces against the rebels, who have controlled northern Mali since April. Defence sources said Tuesday France plans to triple its forces to 2,500 troops.

AFP/mry

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

09:58 January 16, 2013 by jodendal
thank you EU for sending yet another africa country into the dark ages cause of you own financial agenda!
11:37 January 16, 2013 by MattyB
09:58 January 16, 2013 by jodendal

And thank the US / EU action in Libya for making the current mess in Mali possible.
16:47 January 16, 2013 by raandy
I would have to agree that all those weapons that were left behind in Libya are now in the hands of the Islamic forces in Mali, not to mention the jihad experienced fighters.

I would like to know why the US advisers and trainers did not see this spill over coming from Libya?Maybe if the over stretched US military had not use contracted military advisers then things would be much different.
11:44 January 22, 2013 by Major B
@ Jodendal and Matty B

Please also thank NATO for not letting Quaddafi massacre the people of Begnhazi. There he was with tanks massed just outside of the city. He had promised to make the people there pay dearly for their rebellion and the whole world knew he would do as he promised, as Assad is doing in Syria now.

There was a tragedy in Europe, not even 20 years ago, at the end of a century in which the world, especially Europe, had seen so much destruction and human suffering. That is why I STILL have not gotten over how Europeans, more specifically that Dutch military contingent in Bosnia, let the Serbs massacre those 5000 men and boys in Srebinica(apologze to Bosnians for misspelling.) I'll never understand how it took the U.S. to come in a coral the Europeans to action. The NATO intervention in Benghazi prevented a Srebenica type massacre times 20.

True, the Libyans haven't done such a good job in implementing democracy or human rights. But, they rejected Islamic extremism in their last election. And the people of Benhazi didn't forget how close their destruction came and the whole city protested the killing of the U.S. ambassador last September by terrorists, and chased terrorist groups out of the city.

Sometimes cynicism is so short sighted!!!!!!! Oh by the way, Gemany is the world's second or third largest arms exporter. What about all those nations selling arms to Quaddaffi over the years that have now found their way to Al Quaeda in Africa!!!!!!
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