Ministers have decided to extend the Dutch contribution to the UN’s peacekeeping mission in Mali into 2017.
Some 290 Dutch soldiers will remain in the land-locked west African country as part of a unit focusing on long-distance intelligence, analysis and police work. The seven Dutch helicopters currently in Mali will be withdrawn at the beginning of next year, following consultation with the UN.
The decision to remain involved in Mali was taken at Friday afternoon’s cabinet meeting.
Although progress has been made in Mali, the peace process is still fragile and the mission’s task is not yet over, ministers said. In addition, the instability has an impact on security in the Netherlands because Mali is a transit land for migrants moving to Europe, website Nu.nl reported ministers as saying.
The Netherlands has been part of the Mali mission since April 2014 and currently has some 400 soldiers stationed there.
On Thursday, the United Nations peacekeeping chief warned that the UN mission in Mali would not be able to fully carry out its mandate as long as the signatories to the peace agreement do not resolutely engage in its implementation.
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