The Netherlands to contribute to UN mission in Mali

At the request of the United Nations, the Netherlands will contribute to MINUSMA, the stabilisation mission in Mali. This was confirmed today by the government in a letter to parliament. The aim of this UN mission is to restore security and stability to the West African nation. The Netherlands will be deploying approximately 380 people to MINUSMA, and in principle they will remain with the mission until the end of 2015.

The majority of the Dutch contribution will consist of military personnel whose primary task will be to gather, process and analyse intelligence for the mission as a whole. A unit consisting of four Apache combat helicopters will be deployed to gather information and protect Dutch personnel. A number of police officials and civilian experts will also take part in the mission. Their focus will be on police training, fostering the rule of law, and security sector reform. This contribution dovetails with existing Dutch development cooperation efforts in Mali.

It is in the Netherlands’ interest to help prevent the emergence of an unmanageable situation in the vicinity of Europe. The north of Mali has become a breeding ground for extremism and a sanctuary for terrorist training camps. Mali is located at the intersection of various routes for illegal migration and for smuggling drugs, weapons and people to the Mediterranean. The money generated by these activities is an important source of funding for terrorist activities.

International security, stability and a well-functioning legal order are to the advantage of the Netherlands. Another major consideration behind the decision to contribute to MINUSMA is a sense of solidarity with Mali’s civilian population, which suffers greatly from poverty, a lack of security and human rights violations. For that reason, it is important to contribute to efforts to help strengthen state structures that can secure equal rights and opportunities for ordinary people.