BERLIN (AP) — German lawmakers on Friday gave the go-ahead for the country’s troops to stay in Mali for up to another year, part of a plan to bring Germany’s involvement in a U.N. military mission in the West African nation to an orderly end.
Parliament approved the new and final mandate for German troops’ participation in the U.N. mission known as MINUSMA by 375 votes to 263, with one abstention. It provides for the deployment of up to 1,400 troops until May 31, 2024 at the latest.
The main opposition bloc had called for troops to be pulled out by the end of this year.
The government in November announced its plan to wind down German participation in the mission by mid-2024. It said the timing was meant to take into account the election in Mali that was expected in February and ensure a structured withdrawal, points that the opposition questioned on Friday.
The decision followed repeated tensions between Mali’s leadership and the international community that already have led other countries to set in motion withdrawal plans.
Mali has been ruled by a military junta since a 2020 coup against an elected president. It has faced destabilizing attacks by armed extremist groups linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State group since 2013.
German military missions overseas require a mandate from parliament, which is typically granted on an annual basis.