BAMAKO – Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said on Sunday that Spain is in Mali “defending the rights, the freedoms and the security of all Spaniards” during a visit to the country’s troops deployed in the African nation.
The premier delivered his remarks before representatives of the Spanish troop contingent upon concluding his visit to Mali, where Madrid has deployed more than 160 soldiers in Bamako and Koulikoro as part of the European mission to train the Malian army in its fight against jihadist terrorism.
Rajoy stopped in Bamako for the past four hours along with Spanish Defense Minister Pedro Morenes and the chief of the Spanish Defense Staff Adm. Gen. Fernando Garcia Sanchez.
After concluding his business in Mali, Rajoy and his delegation will travel to Dakar, Senegal, where Spain has deployed an air detachment to support the Malian mission.
During his stay in Bamako, Rajoy met with Malian President Ibrahim Bubacar Keita, who received him at the presidential palace.
Earlier, Rajoy spoke with two Spanish missionaries – Mercedes Cuadrado and Jesus Martinez – who have been serving in Mali for more than 40 years and they requested his help in procuring funding to build a school in the town of Setu to provide classes to 180 children.
Since Oct. 24, 2014, Spain has been commanding the European mission to Mali with Brig. Gen. Alfonso Garcia-Vaquero acting as commander-in-chief until July.