Foreign Minister Kristian Jensen said on Friday that Denmark will send a special operations force consisting of 30 men, 15 additional staff officers and a Hercules C130 military aircraft to Mali as part of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) .
“We are doing it in order to create stability in Mali, which is one of the world’s most fragile countries but a country that in June established a peace agreement. Therefore, we wish to support the UN’s important work in the country,” Jensen told reporters.
Jensen added that further instability in Mali would directly impact Denmark.
“Mali is just one border away from Europe. An escalation of the conflict in Mali would therefore increase the flow of African migration that we have seen. If we want to counteract that pressure, we also need to take part of the responsibility,” he added.
Denmark’s contribution will be significantly smaller than what the UN requested earlier this month. Major General Michael Lollesgaard, a Dane leading the UN’s efforts in Mali, asked Denmark to provide 250 troops and up to 30 armoured vehicles for what he said would be a “very dangerous mission”.
Jensen told reporters after a meeting with parliament's Foreign Policy Committee that Denmark would not let the UN determine its military commitments and that the government did not want to “put all of its eggs in one basket”.
The Danish People’s Party, the government’s largest support party, expressed a resistance to fulfilling Lollesgaard’s request but according to TV2 the government could have found a majority in parliament for the larger mission with the backing of the Social Democrats.
With the new plans, Denmark will largely mirror its 2014 presence in Mali, which consisted of one Hercules military transport aircraft and 40 military personnel. Denmark turned down the UN’s request to extend that mission after its completion in June 2014.