News BlogWest Africa - Sahel

The mission in the Sahel reviewed in the light of the situation in Mali?

Could the EU Gendarmerie training mission in Niger be complemented by army or border guard training? (credit: UN)

(BRUSSELS2, exclusive) The coup d'état in Mali could force the Europeans to accelerate and review the format of the PeSDC mission which must be deployed in Niger to train the gendarmerie, according to information communicated to B2. In addition to the training of the gendarmerie, a military element could also be added with the training of the army and/or border guards. A necessity for Niger to protect its northern border with Mali. But it is also necessary to deploy the civilian mission in Niger “quickly”. The concept of operations (Conops) was to be prepared by June; he " You should probably speed up the preparation assured a senior European diplomat to B2; and it may seem a little contradictory with any additional layout of the mission ". The Political and Security Committee (PSC) is to look into the issue these days (meeting this Friday but also Monday morning in Luxembourg). From " general way ", that " also raises the question of cumbersomeness of our procedures » of setting up a PeSDC mission, he added.

Aid to ECOWAS

An officer from the EU General Staff has already left for Abuja, headquarters of ECOWAS/ECOWAS – the Economic Community of West African States. Objective: to liaise with Europeans and help Africans define their needs for an operation in Mali. This involves examining in particular to what extent Europeans could help with this African military mission, particularly at the logistical level, but also politically. Proper planning of the mission and definition of its objective are very important. The mission of 3000 soldiers that ECOWAS is preparing to deploy in Mali could, in fact, have three very different objectives: either preserve the south of Mali, or establish a buffer zone below Timbuktu and Gao, or reconquer the north. Depending on the choice of one or the other option, this implies different positions and means. This planning of the operation could receive European support. Concerning the means, there is no question of a PeSDC mission; but more to use financial tools like the African Peace Facility. With just one difficulty: this is “ already heavily used for Amisom in Somalia”. And she's running out of available resources.

Read also: The EU will continue to support the efforts of AMISOM. But not alone

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).