Lithuania’s support to international peacekeeping efforts in Mali endorsed
On 20 September Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevičius participated in the ministerial meeting on the implementation of the agreement for peace and reconciliation in Mali held in New York. According to Minister Linkevičius, the stability of the whole Sahel region depends on the situation in Mali and directly affects Europe particularly in the context of illegal migration; therefore Lithuania contributes to the efforts of the international community to support a peace process in Mali.
The ministerial meeting underlined the role of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) in maintaining stability in the country and the region as a whole. Since August 2016 five Lithuanians have been deployed in Mali as part of the UN mission, and the plan is to send additional 34 servicemen in October 2017. Lithuania is going to contribute with 39 military personnel in 2018, too.
Lithuanian military are also deployed to the European Union Training Mission in Mali (EUTM) on a rotational basis every year. There are two Lithuanian servicemen deployed in the EU mission now.
The Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs provides funding to the implementation of the first bilateral development cooperation project in Mali aimed to improve professional skills of the youth in an agricultural field. Lithuania has also allocated funds as humanitarian aid to Mali through the World Food Program and the International Red Cross.
Mali has been in a political and security crisis since 2012. The implementation of the Peace Accord, signed by the Malian government and the rebels over two years ago, continues to be slow and complicated in the northern regions of the country.