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The Council today approved the Crisis Management Concept for a new Common Security and Defence Policy mission to support the training and reorganisation of the Malian Armed Forces. The EU training mission in Mali (EUTM Mali) is intended to help improve the military capacity and the effectiveness of the Malian Armed Forces in order to allow, under civilian authority, the restoration of the country's territorial integrity. It represents an integral part of the EU's comprehensive approach to the situation in Mali and the Sahel.
Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy / Vice-President of the Commission, said: "The presence of terrorist groups and the oppression of local populations in the north of Mali, as well as human rights violations, not only pose a grave threat to the Sahel region, but also to North Africa and to Europe. We are determined to fully mobilise all the tools we have, in cooperation with our regional and international partners, to help Malians restore the rule of law and re-establish a fully sovereign democratic government with authority throughout the country. European military expertise can contribute significantly to this effort, as part of our wider support to the democratic transition and our humanitarian assistance to deprived populations."
EUTM Mali is set to train battalion groups of the Malian Armed Forces as well as related combat support and combat service units including on international humanitarian law, the protection of civilians and human rights. In addition, the mission will work to improve the functioning of the army's logistical and operational chains of command. So as to ensure the sustainability of its results, EUTM Mali is also set to help the Malian army develop better human resources management and training capacities. The mission will not have any executive mandate and it will not be involved in operational actions.
The headquarters is due to be in Bamako while training is to take place in a dedicated location north-east of Bamako. Initially, the mission's mandate is to last 15 months. It is planned to deploy around 200 instructors, as well as mission support staff and a force protection.
Today's decision initiates operational planning and other preparations for the mission. A separate legal act is required to formally constitute the mission and launch its operations.
This new mission would be part of the EU comprehensive approach to the crisis in the Sahel region. In March 2011, the Council welcomed the presentation of an EU Strategy for Security and Development in the Sahel. This strategy is based on the assumptions that development and security are interconnected and can be mutually supportive and that the complex crisis in the Sahel requires a regional answer.