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ForMin Aurescu - at meeting on Task Force Takuba; emphasized necessity to ensure security of mission's personnel

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Bogdan Aurescu

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bogdan Aurescu, has attended, on Monday, at the invitation of his French counterpart, Jean-Yves Le Drian, a ministerial meeting on the topic of Task Force Takuba, context in which he emphasized the necessity to ensure the security of the personnel of this missions, among which there are Romanian citizens.

Given the negative developments happening in the region, he expressed Romania's openness to analyze, together with strategic partners and within the EU, the best options to continue the commitment and efforts in the field for the promotion of peace, stability and development in the Sahel, shows a release by the Foreign Affairs Ministry (MAE) sent to AGERPRES.

The meeting had as a purpose analyzing the recent political and security developments in the Sahel and the evaluation of their impact on international efforts to combat terrorism in Mali and the region, especially through Task Force Takuba.

The participants conveyed their deep concern regarding the accelerated deterioration of the security situation in the region and highlighted the worsening of conditions in which Task Force Takuba is operating. They emphasized the firm commitment of the Task Force Takuba participating states for the promotion of peace and stability in the Sahel, in support of the population of the Sahelian states and the entire African continent, together with the EU in its entirety and other international partners. The participants expressed preoccupation towards the intentions of the authorities in Mali to cooperate with the Russian mercenary group Wagner to continue to combat terrorist groups in the region, emphasizing the non-transparent character of demarches in this direction and the lack of legitimacy of this group, the actions of which do not serve the interests of the citizens in the countries where it is present, MAE mentions.

The head of Romanian diplomacy reaffirmed "the political will of Romania to continue to remain committed in the Sahel and the importance of maintaining the collective commitment of the participating states in Task Force Takuba for the region."

He emphasized the importance of this area for the security of the EU in its entirety, pointing out the additional concern that the developments in the Southern Vicinity generate when they are approached in a manner correlated with the tensions accumulated in the Eastern Vicinity, through the massing of Russian troops in the proximity of Ukraine and the Black Sea region, aspects on which further action must be done by maintaining unity and coordination, Agerpres.ro informs.

Aurescu emphasized the relevance of continuing international efforts to support the states of the Sahel, to the benefit of regional security and stability and the local population. These renewed efforts can be ran as an international coalition to maintain the spirit of the mandate of Task Force Takuba, complementary with the fulfillment of the mandates of the other international missions present such as EUTM Mali and MINUSMA which remain particularly important.

Minister Bogdan Aurescu expressed hope that the European Union - African Union Summit, which will take place on February 17 and 18, will send a powerful message regarding the reciprocal Euro-African commitment for the security and development of the Sahel region and for a strengthened partnership between Europe and Africa.

***

On March 27, 2020, Belgium, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Mali, Niger, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden and the United Kingdom issued a joint political statement expressing their support for the creation of a military force/operative group (Task Force) Takuba, integrated under the command of the French military operation Barkhane, which has as a purpose driving out terrorist groups in the Sahel region.

Task Force Takuba, which became operational at the start of 2021, has ran advisory, support and accompaniment actions with the Mali armed forces, in coordination with the G5-Sahel partners and other international actors in the field, including the UN MINUSMA mission and the EU EUTM Mali, EUCAP Sahel Mali and EUCAP Sahel Niger.

Romania has approved, in the summer of 2021, the participation with up to 50 servicemen in Task Force Takuba. The contribution was not yet deployed, due to the accentuated deterioration of the security situation and the worrying political developments in the region, as well as the Malian side not fulfilling the necessary procedures.

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