Conflict In Sahel
OpenLife Nigeria reports that following United Nations Security Council recent decision, the government of Norway has decided to close down its embassy in Mali.
According to reports, the UN Security Council, on 30 June, adopted a resolution terminating the mandate of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali, MINUSMA.
They requested MINUSMA to start the withdrawal process, to be completed by the end of the year. This will have consequences for the security of Norwegian and other diplomatic missions and international organisations in Mali.
The Norwegian Government has therefore decided to close the Embassy in Bamako by the end of 2023.
At the same time, the underlying conditions for international engagement have changed significantly in recent years. We therefore have to find other ways to follow up our interests in Mali moving forward,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Anniken Huitfeldt.
The decision to close the Embassy in Bamako was taken following an assessment of whether it is possible to safeguard Norwegian interests in Mali given the security situation in the country. Since the two military coups in 2020 and 2021, the political situation in Mali has been volatile.
The military-led transitional government has terminated its security cooperation with France and the UN. When the UN mission ends, it will become more difficult to maintain normal diplomatic activity in the country.
In addition to Mali, the Embassy in Bamako has been responsible for representing Norway in Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Niger and Chad. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is now working on solutions to safeguard Norway’s diplomatic representation in all these countries once the Embassy in Bamako is closed.
‘The closure of the Embassy in Bamako does not mean that Norway is ending its engagement in the Sahel. Humanitarian needs remain high, and Norway will continue to be a long-term and reliable partner to the civilian population in the Sahel,’ said Ms Huitfeldt.
Norway has provided substantial support to the Sahel (a total of NOK 745 million in 2022, of which 180 million to Mali).
In addition, Norway provides a high level of humanitarian aid to the Sahel (close to NOK 450 million in 2023, including Mali).
Norway currently has 96 diplomatic and consular missions including 78 embassies, 8 consulates general, 9 delegations and 1 representative office.
Norway’s diplomatic presence abroad is dynamic, and changes are made based, among other things, on political priorities, resources and security considerations. Earlier this year, the number of diplomatic and locally employed staff was increased at selected missions, particularly those in Europe, while certain other missions were closed.