The report of the Minister of Defense Nikos Panayiotopoulos on the situation in the Sahel and Mali of Africa, during his participation through a teleconference in the informal Meeting of the Ministers of Defense of the EU that took place on Friday 20 November, was not formal or accidental, Doureios reported.
The Defense Ministers of the EU and High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell analyzed the situation in Libya, as well as in Mali, where the EU are engaged in two missions it – an EU Training Mission and a EU Capacity Building Mission – under the EU Common Security & Defense Policy.
Information about the the Military Planning & Action Capability, which is the EU Training Mission Headquarters in Mali, Somalia and the Central African Republic were also revealed during the meeting.
The Greek Foreign Minister stressed the common interest of the member states in achieving stability in the Sahel and enhancing security in the wider region, supporting the gradual resumption of Joint Security and Defense activities in Mali as an integral part of the EU regional strategy.
According to Savvas Vlassis in writing for Doureios, Greece is preparing to send a military unit to Mali to join French military forces to carry out operations against jihadist terrorists in an operation seperate from the EU’s missions.
Greece currently maintains two officers in the EU Training Mission, which, however, has as its main task the training Malian forces without participating in operations.
France has officially raised the issue of military assistance to Greece since last year and if Turkish aggression had not manifested itself on this scale that the country is experiencing today, the proposal would have already been implemented, according to Vlassis.
The Greek mission will be small and will involve Special Forces personnel who will be added to the TAKUBA Operational Force (TF TAKUBA) formed by the French.
It is expected forces from allied and friendly countries will be added to it.
TF TAKUBA is currently staffed by the French and about 50 Estonians, while other countries that had stated their intention to participate have been delayed, mainly due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As soon as the government gives the green light, two Special Forces officers will be sent to Mali to brief them on the operational framework and gain an insight into the ongoing struggle and the TF TAKUBA mission.
This will be followed by the mission of the unit that will initially take on security duties in the allied camp.
Greece’s participation in Mali is considered very important for many reasons.
A key factor is the value at the political level, which demonstrates Greece’s practical support for France in this military effort, which to a large extent keeps the threat of jihadist terrorists away from the Mediterranean and consequently Europe.
Moreover, this is a demonstration of the joint interests of Greece, Cyprus and France in the Mediterranean and it is appropriate to emphasize this even more at the military level, Vlassis concluded.