The Sahel, and Mali in particular, is one of the priorities of the Belgian foreign policy, which is reflected in the multiple engagements of our country in the region. Today, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders decided to contribute two million euro to the United Nations Trustfund for peace and security in Mali.
This new Belgian contribution supports the restructuring of Mali’s security and defense apparatus in North and Central Mali with the aid of the MINUSMA police component (United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali). With this contribution Mali forces can acquire non-lethal military equipment to serve the local community in the best possible way. There are also training courses scheduled, for example about respecting human rights. Furthermore, Belgium pushes for the development of a local police force, which operates along the local community. Special attention will be drawn to women engagement in all these projects.
MINUSMA plays an essential role keeping peace and stability in Mali and in the whole Sahel region, drawing international support for its work. Belgium uses a global approach in Mali, building on diplomacy, development and security efforts to tackle the multitude of challenges confronting Mali.
The relationship between Belgium and Mali was strengthened in the beginning of this year with the upgrade of our diplomatic office in Bamako to a real embassy.
After almost two years in charge of the European military training mission (EUTM) and the military component of MINUSMA, our country will continue to push for peace and security in Mali through the Belgian seat in the UN Security Council from January 2019 onwards.
It is the second time that Belgium contributes to the United Nations Trustfund for peace and security in Mali. In July, our country gave 1 million euro in support for justice and national reconciliation in the framework of the Peace Agreement.