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To ask Her Majesty's Government which Armed Forces personnel were planned to be deployed to Mali in 2020; and what was the anticipated (1) length, and (2) objective, of any such deployment.
As announced in July 2019, the UK is due to deploy 250 peacekeepers to the UN's mission in Mali (MINUSMA). The first unit is planned to deploy in 2020 and will be led by the Light Dragoons. The deployment will last an initial period of three years. The deployment’s objectives are aligned with the UN mission's mandate of: supporting the Malian peace process; security sector reform; assisting the reestablishment of State authority; protecting civilians; and promoting human rights.
The UK also currently has three CH-47 helicopters committed to France's counter-terror mission in the Sahel, Operation BARKHANE, in a non-combat, heavy-lift capacity role. This was initially agreed as part of the January 2018 UK-France Summit. This commitment is currently due to end in June 2020 and discussions are ongoing regarding a possible extension. Operation BARKHANE is a French-led operation and the objectives focus on preventing the re-establishment of any safe havens for terrorist forces in the region.
The UK also has military and civilian staff in the EU's Training Mission (EUTM) in Mali. UK contributions to the EU's Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) operations will be maintained during the Transition Period. The objectives for these UK personnel are focused on the delivery of international humanitarian law training, in support of EUTM's current mandate which aims to train, educate and advise Malian Armed Forces.