Update: 31.08.2022 08:19
Prague – The European Union must adapt its engagement in Mali to the new situation, when the military junta there is under Russian influence. However, it is in Europe’s security interest to continue to be involved in the Sahel region. According to the Czech Ministry of Defense, the defense ministers of the European Union countries agreed on this at an informal meeting. This took place on Monday and Tuesday in Prague. The main topic of the meeting was Russian aggression in Ukraine and further assistance from European countries. The ministers also talked about how to overcome the shortcomings in the defense capacities of the member countries. The ministry stated this on its website www.army.cz.
According to the office, Russia’s aggressive policy was intertwined with the discussions. Part of the meeting was attended by Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov, who introduced the participants to the most urgent needs and priorities of the Ukrainian army. According to the head of EU diplomacy, Josep Borrell, EU member states are ready to support Ukraine as long as it is needed. He noted that in addition to weapons, Ukrainians also need training.
“Therefore, the ministers gave a positive opinion on the idea of establishing an EU military training mission in support of Ukraine,” the ministry said. According to the office, the mission should build on already existing bilateral activities of individual member states and, at least for the time being, should operate on the territory of one of the countries.
The defense further stated that the ministers described the situation at the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant as worrying. They consider it essential that Russia allow inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency access to it. They also agreed on the need to start preparations for the post-war reconstruction of Ukraine in the area of security and defense.
They also discussed the steps Moscow is taking in the Western Balkans and Africa, including Mali, where the Czech army is currently commanding an EU training mission. The ministry said Mali’s transitional government, which emerged from a military coup, is under increasing Russian influence. Both the EU mission and the concurrent UN mission called MINUSMA face increasingly difficult conditions. “The ministers agreed that it is in Europe’s security interest to continue to be involved in the Sahel region. However, it is necessary to reflect the changes in the political environment in Mali and adapt European engagement in this country to the new situation,” the ministry said.
The ministers also discussed how to overcome deficiencies in the defense capacities of European countries. According to the ministry, the goal must be to use the resources that member countries spend on defense as efficiently as possible. “Ministers have therefore opened a discussion on how to invest more in strengthening military capabilities together,” Defense said. According to the ministry, these efforts should prevent further fragmentation of the European defense market and provide new opportunities for the development of the defense industry in member countries.
Source: České noviny – hlavní události by www.ceskenoviny.cz.
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