Published on Thursday27thOctober2016

Minister Kehoe visit Irish Defence Forces personnel serving in Mali


Minister Kehoe & EU Mission Commander 

Minister with Responsibility for Defence, Mr. Paul Kehoe, visited Mali in Western Africa on Wednesday, 26 October to meet with Irish Defence Forces personnel serving with the EU Training Mission in Mali (EUTM Mali). 

During his visit Minister Kehoe met with UN Special Representative for Mali, Mr. Mahamat Saleh Annadif, where he was briefed on the operation and impact of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).  Discussions also centred around the importance of EUTM Mali and its contribution to the security, stability and peace of that region. Minister Kehoe confirmed the commitment of the Irish Government to continued training and mentoring the Malian Armed Forces as part of the EU Training mission.  

Later in the morning, Minister Kehoe travelled to the Headquarters of the EU training mission where he met with the recently appointed Mission Commander, Brigadier General Eric Harvent from Belgium. Brigadier General Harvent expressed his gratitude for Ireland’s contribution to EUTM Mali and praised the work of Irish personnel serving in the mission. Minister Kehoe was also briefed on the overall security situation in Mali and the operation of the EU training mission. 

Speaking afterwards the Minister said:

EUTM is recognised as an essential partner in the reconstruction of the Malian State and the main instrument for the reconstruction of its armed forces. 

This visit has provided me with an important and comprehensive insight into the security and political issues in the region. There are many challenges facing Mali in seeking to provide security for its people and to secure its borders.  It is clear that there will be a need for continuing EU engagement and support in the region for the foreseeable future. 

Our continued participation in this mission supports Ireland’s ongoing commitment to international peace and security through the deployment of Defence Forces contingents on peace support and crisis management operations. 

Also, at the Mission headquarters, in acknowledging the significant contribution Irish personnel to the EUTM mission, Minister Kehoe presented 15 Irish personnel, with their Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) Service Medal, which is an international military decoration awarded to individuals, both military and civilian, who have served with CSDP missions.