Germany suspends some military operations in Mali

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Germany has suspended most of its military operations in Mali, after authorities in Bamako withheld a flight clearance, the German Ministry of Defence announced on Friday.

Berlin has around 1,000 troops deployed in Mali, most of them near the northern town of Gao, where their main task is to gather information for the UN peacekeeping mission, Minusma.

The suspension stands until further notice, and is a way for the German authorities to denounce a refusal by the Malian authorities to authorise a flight scheduled for Friday that would have provided a rotation of personnel.

“It is no longer possible to support Minusma operationally, without the new personnel who were to partly replace the French forces who are withdrawing,” a spokesman for the German Ministry of Defence said.

In early August, Mali had already withdrawn clearances for German flights over the country but later reversed that decision.

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The German decision comes as Mali has been facing a resurgence of attacks and has also pushed out the French force that was helping in the fight against jihadism.

The military-led government has since been intensifying cooperation with Moscow, which led to the deterioration of relations with Paris in recent months.

Relations between Mali and the UN, whose peacekeepers have been in the country since 2013, have also deteriorated in recent weeks.

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