Germany can't ditch cooperation with African nations over values, says minister

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Germany can't ditch cooperation with African nations over values, says minister
German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius speaks on stage during the 60th Munich Security Conference (MSC) at the Bayerischer Hof hotel in Munich, southern Germany, on February 17, 2024.  (Photo by Tobias SCHWARZ / AFP)

Germany must work with African governments that do not match its values or risk leaving the door wide open to Russian influence on the continent, German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius said Saturday.


"We stand ready to assist those countries that have an interest in peace and stability, that want our support in capacity building with material and with military expertise," Pistorius said at the Munich Security conference.

Doing so was a "contribution to the protection of the rules-based international order", the minister said.

"If we refuse to cooperate with certain African states because they do not fully meet our standards, our values, then Russia will step in," he said.

"Usually not for the good of the country or the stability of the region."

There was "not much" to be gained from refusing cooperation because of such concerns, Pistorius said.

Germany last year said it would withdraw its troops from a UN mission in Mali, MINUSMA, in a pullout ordered by Mali's military leaders in 2023.

Mali's junta, which seized power in 2023, has ditched the country's alliance with former colonial power France and sought rapprochement with Moscow.


The government in Bamako has also drawn closer to Niger and Burkina Faso -- both now also run by military regimes with deepening ties to Russia after recent coups.

Differences over support for Ukraine and the policy towards Israel and the war in Gaza have strained relations between African governments and capitals in Europe and North America.

Meanwhile, Russia has sought to woo African countries with promises of grain and sent mercenaries to support governments in Mali, the Central African Republic and, allegedly, Burkina Faso.




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