Canada will be withdrawing from the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali (Minusma) at the end of July, but will keep some troops and helicopters in the West African country until September.
In July 2018, Canada joined 56 other UN Member States as a contributor to the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) to provide medical evacuation by air of injured personnel, supply transport and logistics support.
Since then, the men and women deployed under Operation Presence – Mali have conducted 10 medical evacuations. Canadian helicopters have accumulated more than 3 000 flying hours, transported more than 6 400 passengers and delivered more than 168 000 kg of cargo. “This contribution has provided essential support to MINUSMA in the execution of its mission to support the implementation of the 2015 peace agreement,” Global Affairs Canada said recently.
In anticipation of the arrival in Mali of a Romanian helicopter rotation this year, Canada is confirming that the Air Task Force (ATF) will begin its gradual departure at the end of July and its operations will be gradually scaled down and limited to medical evacuation tasks until 31 August. Canada will until then keep 170 personnel, two Chinooks and four Griffon helicopters in Mali. A total of 250 personnel and eight helicopters (three CH-147F Chinooks and five CH-146 Griffons) were deployed.
This phased approach will ensure a smooth and efficient transition process between the Canadian and Romanian rotations. A small Canadian Air Force transition team will be deployed to assist Romania in its preparations to commence operations, and Canada has offered to provide four C-17 aircraft flights to assist Romania to deploy their personnel and equipment to theatre. This approach will minimize disruption in the availability of critical capabilities to MINUSMA forces.
Romania’s peacekeeping detachment will include 120 personnel and four IAR 330 Puma helicopters. In mid-June a Romanian liaison team was in Mali preparing for the handover.
“Setting conditions for peace is central to Canada’s work in Mali. To that end, Canada will continue its long-standing support through its development, stabilization and humanitarian programming,” Global Affairs Canada said.
“Canada is committed to UN peacekeeping missions, which we view as a vital tool to building peace and stability around the world. Through our support to MINUSMA and other contributions in Mali and the Sahel, Canada, Romania and the United Nations are supporting the people of Mali in their fight for a lasting peace in their country,” said Chrystia Freeland, P.C., M.P., Minister of Foreign Affairs.
“Canadians can be proud of the women and men of our Air Task Force in Mali whose important work is delivering vital airlift capabilities in support of MINUSMA and demonstrates Canada’s commitment to our partners in Mali and our international allies. We will continue to work with the United Nations and Romania to facilitate a thorough handover as a responsible member of the global peace and security community,” said Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence.