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Sweden to withdraw from French-led special forces mission in Mali – Minister

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Sweden to withdraw from French-led special forces mission in Mali – Minister

Sweden has decided to withdraw its troops this year from a European special forces mission in the Sahel region, and will review its contribution to the UN following the arrival of private Russian military contractors in Mali, its foreign minister said.

“We have already decided that this year we will withdraw (from) the Takuba force,” Ann Linde told reporters on Friday on the sidelines of a meeting of EU foreign ministers in western France.

“The question is what we do with Minusma,” he said, referring to the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali.

The Swedish parliament approved the deployment of up to 150 soldiers to Takuba in 2020 and has about 250 servicemen as part of Minusma.

Takuba was established as a partial successor to Barkhane, France’s counterterrorism operation in the Sahel region of West Africa that French President Emmanuel Macron began reducing from its initial force of 5,000.

It comprises some 14 European countries, which provide special forces, logistical and tactical support to work alongside regional forces in specific operations against Islamist militants.

French officials have said they will discuss with their partners how to respond operationally, but have acknowledged that some mission countries are particularly uncomfortable after the arrival in Mali of private military contractors from the Russian Wagner Group, whose members are mostly ex-military. .

Reuters / NAN

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