Press release 13/2013
17 January 2013
The Foreign Affairs Council of the EU convened for an extraordinary meeting in Brussels on 17 January, owing to the worrisome situation in Mali. Finland was represented at the meeting by Permanent Representative Jan Store.
The meeting discussed the latest situation and the EU’s future actions, led by Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. Foreign Minister Tieman Hubert Coulibaly of Mali was invited to the meeting as a guest.
The Council decided to establish the European Union Training Mission (EUTM) Mali, which will be responsible for providing the Malian armed forces with military training and advice. General François Lecointre of France was appointed commander of the mission. Preparations for the mission continue at an accelerated pace so that deployment will be possible no later than mid-February.
The EU will appoint a Special Representative for the Sahel.
In the Foreign Affairs Council conclusions, the EU condemns the attacks by terrorist groups against the army of Mali. The attacks pose a threat to the country’s territorial integrity and safety. The EU welcomes the efforts of regional actors, the international community and France to stabilise the situation. The EU’s financial support is being prepared for the African-led International Support Mission to Mali (AFISMA) . The EU underlines the necessity of a political process to ensure permanent stability in Mali and encourages broad national dialogue between the various groups. The EU is also ready to review the prerequisites for a gradual resumption of development cooperation in Mali. The EU works in close cooperation and coordination with other international actors, including in the delivery of humanitarian aid.
Just before the extraordinary Foreign Affairs Council meeting, Foreign Minister Tuomioja wrote on the situation in Mali and EU measures in his blog www.tuomioja.org/ (in Finnish)
Additional information: Deputy European Correspondent Johanna Birkstedt, Unit for European Common Foreign and Security Policy, mobile tel. +358 40 352 3556, First Secretary Elina Rimppi, Finland’s Permanent Representation to the European Union, tel. +32-2-2878 621