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INTERVIEW/Ingo Korzetz says without Romania's medical evacuation capability, operational range in Mali would be limited

Osservatorio Analitico
Sahel Africa de Vest Mali Niger Mauritania Ciad Burkina Faso

Commander Ingo Korzetz of the German contingent deployed to the Camp Castor in Gao commended, in an interview to AGERPRES, the Romanian servicemen deployed within the UN mission in Mali (the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali - MINUSMA) for their professionalism, saying that without their medical evacuation capability, the operational range of the troops in Mali would have been much more limited.

The German Commander said the professionalism of the Romanian ground crews in Mali and that of the pilots meets any standard, whether we're talking about national or NATO standards.

Ingo Korzetz also commended the combat technic of the Romanian servicemen operating in this mission.

"The helicopters used by Romania provide an excellent mix of capabilities. Their overall reliability has always met my expectations and their capacity supports almost every need we have. With four Pumas here at Gao, we can conduct all the missions given to us by the Force Headquarters in Bamako," Korzetz said.

AGERPRES: What is the importance of the peacekeeping mission in Mali from Germany's perspective and how could the tensions in this area affect Romania and other European countries?

Ingo Korzetz: The Bundeswehr provides an important contribution to the stabilization of Mali and the entire Sahel in the framework of the mandates given by the United Nations and the European Union. With close to 900 soldiers in MINUSMA and about 150 in the EU Training Mission (EUTM), Germany is dedicated to the future of Mali. The forces of the German Task Force in MINUSMA provide a wide range of ground and air reconnaissance assets which contribute to the overall situational awareness and enable the Force Commander to make the right decisions at the right time. Keeping the peace so that the provisions of the Algiers Peace Accord of 2015 can be implemented gives all Malians a chance to tackle the manifold challenges they face today. We help them to determine their own fate in their own country, which I believe is their fundamental right.

AGERPRES: Does Romania's participation in MINUSMA actions confirm that Romania represents a security provider not only for NATO, but for UN as well?

Ingo Korzetz: Thanks to the Romanian contribution to the UN mission, the men and women of my Task Force feel safe. No matter which nation, whenever we operate in the area of operations, we know that our Romanian comrades are ready to assist whenever necessary, day or night. And the Romanian Helicopter Detachment has proved it several times. Without the Medical Evacuation capability provided by Romania, our operational range would be much more limited. Without the Air Reconnaissance capability, the UN convoys providing support to MINUSMA troops and the local population would be much more in danger on the roads of Mali. So, beyond what Romania does for NATO, here in the UN mission they are a key enabler.

AGERPRES: Do you work directly with the Romanian Air Force? How do you perceive their professionalism, as well as their adaptability to the new missions they receive?

Ingo Korzetz: Just last week I was on board a Romanian helicopter doing reconnaissance in the area of operations far South of Gao. The professionalism of the ground crews and the pilots meets any standard I know, national or NATO. And they do that in a quite challenging environment. Strong winds, sand storms, high wear and tear on all equipment and personnel, this is not an easy job. Preparing the flight missions for the Quick Reaction Force, when you don't know where you are going and you don't know what will happen, that is very challenging. So far, the Romanians I worked with have never said 'No, we can't do that.' To the contrary, until this very day, they went to great lengths to support the German Task Force in every possible way. And that makes my job a whole lot easier.

AGERPRES: Romania is present in Mali with four IAR-330 Puma L-RM helicopters. Does the Romanian military equipment meet the expectations of international partners?

Ingo Korzetz: I think the helicopters used by Romania provide an excellent mix of capabilities. Their overall reliability has always met my expectations and their capacity supports almost every need we have. With four Pumas here at Gao, we can conduct all the missions given to us by the Force Headquarters in Bamako. And when it comes to servicing them, their known design greatly helps. I remember watching an automobile crane of the German contingent lifting a very heavy engine of one of the Pumas for replacement just recently. That cooperation worked very well, also because of the great training standards Romanians and Germans share. So, I am very happy to have my Romania comrades with us

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