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UN peacekeeping rotations to resume in Mali after month-long suspension

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The UN peacekeeping mission in Mali will resume troop rotation on Monday, a mission spokesman said on Saturday, a month after Malian authorities suspended them and accused foreign soldiers of entering the country without permission.

Mali’s ruling junta suspended troop rotation for the nearly 12,000-strong mission on July 14 after the arrest of 49 soldiers from Côte d’Ivoire who it said had entered the country without authorization. Ivory Coast denied this.

It said they would resume talks with representatives of the mission, known as MINUSMA, on how to coordinate the deployment of troops.

The July arrests highlighted friction between the junta, which seized power in an August 2020 coup, and international partners, which have criticized delays in elections and security cooperation with Russian mercenaries.

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Côte d’Ivoire says the soldiers were deployed as part of a support contract signed with MINUSMA, which was established in 2013 to provide protection against Islamist militants. The Ivorian troops remain in custody.

A MINUSMA spokesman said the mission and Malian authorities had agreed on a streamlined rotation procedure and the mission’s request to resume rotations on Monday had been accepted.

Mali’s foreign ministry was not immediately available for comment.

Relations between Mali and troop-contributing countries remain tense. On Friday, Germany said it was suspending its military reconnaissance mission, which provides intelligence to MINUSMA, after Malian authorities withheld a flight permit.

Mali’s foreign minister denied on Twitter that the government had done so and called on Germany to adhere to the new mechanism for approving troop rotations.

(REUTERS)

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