UN Mission in Mali: Armed Forces Deployment - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 9:03 pm on 14th December 2020.

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Photo of Lord Hain Lord Hain Labour 9:03 pm, 14th December 2020

My Lords, I agree with the Minister that this is an important UN mission that we must support. I associate myself with my noble friend Lord Touhig’s remarks. The Sahel region is beset by an increasingly dangerous and violent Islamist insurgency, and in the east of Mali militants repeatedly attack French, European and local armed forces, including 50 killed in 2017 in a suicide attack on a military base. The Minister said that lessons had been learned from previous missions. How certain can she be that Mali will be very different from, for example, Helmand? I clearly recall similar assurances to those she has given being given to us in the Cabinet in 2006 on a straightforward mission, yet 454 soldiers, including British ones, were subsequently killed in combat operations against the Taliban.