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The Swedish military will quit the Takuba force this year, which brings together European special forces in the Sahel at the initiative of France, the Swedish Foreign Minister announced on Friday.
The Takuba force stripped of part of its troops. Sweden announced Friday, January 14, its withdrawal in 2022 from the operation bringing together European special forces in the Sahel at the initiative of France.
“We have already decided that we will leave the Takuba force this year,” Swedish foreign minister Ann Linde told reporters on the sidelines of the meeting in Brest (Finistère) of European ministers of affairs. foreigners.
“The question that arises is that of knowing what we are going to do with Minusma” (United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali), she added.
The Swedish Parliament approved in 2020 the deployment of 150 members of the special forces within the framework of Operation Takuba and of 250 additional soldiers within the Minusma.
Takuba, which currently brings together 14 countries, is intended to take over from Operation Barkhane in the Sahel: French President Emmanuel Macron announced, in June 2021, the latter’s gradual disengagement to make way to an international coalition.
But the rapprochement between the junta which seized power in Mali, after two coups d’état in 2020 and 2021, and Russia, and even more the deployment of Russian mercenaries from the Wagner group, have changed the situation and questioned the participation of Western countries to attempts to stabilize the country.
From a French military source, it is pointed out that Sweden had planned to withdraw its soldiers from Takuba in March, at the end of a two-year cycle, while leaving officers in the new force.
But we recognize in Paris that the will of the Malian junta to remain in power for four or five more years without organizing elections and the suspected arrival of Wagner questions certain allies of France on the continuation of their operational commitment.
“We now know that there is the Wagner group … and if it gains in influence, we will not be able to continue to deploy a significant number of soldiers”, noted Ann Linde. “This will obviously have consequences.”
The head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, announced on Thursday that the European Union was preparing to impose sanctions on Mali to increase the pressure exerted on the junta by the ECOWAS (Economic Community of African States of l ‘West), whose countries imposed an embargo on their neighbor on January 9 and severed diplomatic relations.