Bonn — Germany has decided to send two C-160 Transall type transport aircraft to Mali to support operations defending the government against insurgents.
“We are willing to transport the [Economic Community Of West African States] troops to Mali, namely to Bamako,” German Defense Minister Thomas de Maizière said Jan. 16 in Berlin.
According to the minister, support for ECOWAS operations could start almost immediately. Unlike the recent shipment of Patriot missiles to Turkey, the Mali action does not require a mandate by the German parliament, he said.
“It is a measure, a measure below the level of a mission that triggers a mandate, and a mandate obligation toward the German Bundestag,” de Maizière said. If the situation changes, he said, the government would immediately ask for a mandate. For instance, this would be the case for any German participation in a possible European military training mission to Mali.
During a joint statement by de Maizière and German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, it became clear the German C-160 planes are not meant to directly support French forces fighting there. Earlier Jan. 16, the government had said it would consider providing up to one A310 and five C-160 Transall aircraft, including two medevacs.
Westerwelle announced that Germany will also give 1 million euros ($1.33 million) in humanitarian aid.
The move to support international operations in Mali was generally supported in Berlin. Opponents only criticized the assessment that a mandate was not needed.
“It is wrong because we support an international mission,” said Rainer Arnold, the defense policy spokesman of the Social Democrats.