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  HOME | World (Click here for more)

German Government Approves Widening Military Missions in Iraq, Mali

BERLIN – Germany on Wednesday approved the widening of its military mission in northern Iraq as well as expanding participation in a United Nations operation in Mali.

The Islamic State terror group was still a threat to peace and security, despite the gains made against it in Iraq, according to a government statement.

“Attacks in Europe, such as the recent one in Berlin, are an indication of this,” the statement said.

The international community needed to continue its commitment in the fight against IS in order to stabilize Iraq, it added.

Thanks to international support, Iraqi security forces had managed to weaken the terrorist organization and thwart its advance, it continued.

It was expected the move would be approved by the lower house of the German parliament and would involve some 150 soldiers, who would be deployed to train members of the Kurdish Peshmerga forces and armed Iraqi opposition fighters.

Since Sept. 2014, the nation has supplied weapons, ammunition, and equipment worth more than 90 million euros ($94.6m) to the Peshmerga.

Defense ministry spokesperson Boris Nannt said in a press conference that the last dispatch of material for the Peshmerga was organized shortly before Christmas and no further supplies were planned.

Ministers also approved an increase in the number of soldiers participating in the United Nations mission in northern Mali (MINUSMA) from 650 to 1,000.

Germany’s armed forces consider the situation to be the largest and most dangerous foreign conflict.

The nation was also expected to send into combat helicopters and transport to replace Dutch equipment.

German military personnel in the West African country carry out mostly intelligence and logistics-related duties.

It was in Germany’s interest to achieve stability in Mali, while terrorism, crime, and poverty could have consequences for Europe and above all in the case of northern Mali, an important refugee transit region on the African continent, the German government said.

 

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