2 EU training of Malian Armed Forces |
|Draft Council Decision on a European Union military mission to contribute to the training of the Malian Armed Forces (EUTM Mali)
|Legal base||Articles 42 and 43 TEU; unanimity
|Department||Foreign and Commonwealth Office
|Basis of consideration||EM of 13 December 2012
|Previous Committee Report||None; but see (34518) : HC 86-xxv (2012-13), chapter 1 (19 December 2012)
|Discussion in Council||20 December 2012 Agriculture and Fisheries Council
|Committee's assessment||Politically important
|Committee's decision||Not cleared; for debate in European Committee B
2.1 In the words of the relevant House of Commons Library research
"Mali has been in crisis since March 2012, when the military
overthrew the government of Amadou Toumani Touré. Within
weeks of the coup, a coalition of Tuareg rebels and militant Islamist
armed groups with links to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb pushed
the national army out of the north of the country. A weak and
ineffective transitional government has been in existence in the
south of the country since April but the north remains beyond
its control. During October 2012 there has been growing momentum
behind proposals to create a military intervention force, under
the auspices of the Economic Community of West African States,
which would attempt to retake the north. However, many questions
remain about the wisdom and feasibility of such a course of action."
The Minister's letter of 15 October 2012
2.2 The Minister for Europe (Mr David Lidington) wrote "to
give notice of consideration being given to a CSDP mission in
2.3 The Minister continued as follows:
"As you know, the situation in Mali is deteriorating
rapidly, with more than half its territory, particularly in the
north of the country, occupied by a variety of organised crime
groups and terrorist groups, some affiliated to Al-Qaeda. The
Malian army is in disarray and is unable to retake control of
the North and is deeply divided, underfunded and poorly led.
"The EU has been considering its approach under
the broad remit of the 650m EU Strategy for Security and
Development in the Sahel.
As part of that strategy, a civilian CSDP mission deployed to
Niger in August to improve the capacity of the Nigerien security
forces to tackle terrorism and organised crime in Niger, with
a focus on border security.
"The European External Action Service has now
drawn up an options paper looking at Mali. This options paper
proposes a military CSDP mission to Mali. The paper sets out three
options for such a mission. The lightest option calls for a training
deployment of 100-200 officers, intended to enhance the capacity
of the Malian army and so strengthen its hand in negotiations
with and military action against rebels in the
North. The heaviest option calls for a deployment of 500 to include
forward support units to train and mentor Government forces.
This option might involve EU forces in combat.
"The British Government believes that CSDP could
play a useful role in rebuilding the Malian army to retake the
North. The French share this assessment and are pushing for a
rapid political decision to launch a CSDP mission with a mandate
to train and advise the Malian military.
"I have noted the Committee's reservations on
the accelerated planning process for the CSDP mission to Niger.
I share the committee's desire that any CSDP deployment should
be well-planned and based on a clear understanding of Mali's needs.
However I also see the need to respond quickly to a conflict
that is rapidly destabilising the Sahel. The French who
have a substantial presence in the Sahel and therefore understand
the region well believe that urgent action is required
to reverse the country's collapse.
"Discussions are continuing. Officials are taking
a supportive position, but also taking opportunities to remind
the External Action Service and French colleagues that a well-planned
mission will be more effective at delivering to Mali the support
which it needs.
"I will update the committee again once a draft
Council Decision is available for scrutiny."
The Minister's letter of 6 December 2012
2.4 In his customary pre-recess letter on CSDP issues,
the Minister said:
"As noted in previous correspondence, the situation
in Mali is deteriorating rapidly. In response, we have been working
towards a Council Decision to establish a new CSDP training mission
(EU Training Mission (EUTM) to Mali by mid-December. We expect
the FAC to approve the Crisis Management Concept (CMC) for the
mission when it meets on 10 December. The CMC is the first EU
planning document and sets out the mission's broad objectives:
to provide military training and advice in the south of Mali to
the Malian Armed Forces. We support the scope of this proposal
and have been intimately involved in its preparation. To ensure
a swift deployment, and given the general consensus around the
parameters of the mission, it is likely that the Council will
agree to overlook the Military Strategic Options phase (MSO) and
move straight to an Initiating Military Directive, a document
providing the guidelines for the Operations Commander to draw
up more detailed planning. A Council Decision to establish a new
mission to Mali could therefore happen soon after the agreement
of the CMC. However, I recognise the importance of scrutiny and
my officials are prepared to explain to EU Member States that
the UK will only offer formal agreement after having given appropriate
time for scrutiny. We are not counting on adequate time for the
Committee to clear this Decision before recess, though this would,
if possible, be very welcome."
The Minister's letter of 13 December 2012
2.5 The Minister responded to a request from the
Committee for more information on the political rationale for
the mission, the effectiveness of the mission's planning, and
on the longer term strategy.
2.6 The Minister said that his letter "sets
out the Government's view on those points, under individual headings",
"The situation in Mali deteriorated rapidly
following a coup in March this year. More than half of its territory,
mostly in the north, is occupied by a variety of nationalist,
terrorist and criminal groups, two of which are affiliated to
Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQ-M). The Malian army is deeply
divided, underfunded, poorly led, and unable to retake control
of the north. There has been no improvement since March. The
security implications of failing to act in Mali could affect not
only the Sahel, but wider West-and-North Africa. There is widespread
recognition that, left unchecked, AQ-M and its affiliated groups
could pose a direct threat to the European mainland. There is
already a humanitarian crisis in the Sahel region, with an estimated
440,000 IDPs and refugees. The security situation is exacerbating
this. The imposition of sharia law in Mali's northern cities
has brought a rise in human rights abuses.
"On 10 December the situation in Mali became
still more uncertain following the arrest by the Malian army and
subsequent forced resignation of Prime Minister Cheick Modibo
Diarra. This arose from tensions between Diarra and the military
over the proposed AU/ECOWAS intervention in Mali, which was authorised
by UNSCR 2071 on 12 October. The Prime Minister's arrest triggered
the resignation of the entire Cabinet. President Traoré
has since appointed a new Prime Minister, probably influenced
by the military. The new Prime Minister, Django Cissoko, has
been widely welcomed (in private) as a stronger player than Diarra.
But the events of 10 December demonstrate clearly the volatile
situation in Mali and the need for action to resolve the continuing
instability. I recognise that the Committee will be keen to be
notified as soon as there is any news from Brussels, in particular
if we appear to be moving towards a potential decision. We will
update you accordingly in the coming days.
"The October Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) agreed
three pillars for EU action in Mali: support to the political
process; support to internal political negotiations; and support
to ensure a credible threat of force if other efforts failed.
Council Conclusions called on the Malian Government of National
Unity to adopt a roadmap towards the restoration of constitutional
order and a united Mali. They agreed to proceed with planning
for a military CSDP mission to help restructure and train the
Malian army. The Conclusions also asked the High Representative
and the Commission to explore what additional support to give
to regional partners, particularly ECOWAS.
"At the November FAC Ministers reaffirmed the
need for EU action in Mali. The UK, supported by Germany and
Poland, underlined the need for adequate planning, including force
protection, having a clear exit strategy and coordination with
the ECOWAS operation. Council Conclusions called for
a coherent and comprehensive approach to solving the political
and security crises in Mali; stressed the importance of finding
additional funding for the Africa Peace Facility (APF), asking
the Commission to provide for the mobilisation of additional funding
from the 10th EDF; and offered support to other international
efforts in Mali, particularly those led by the AU and ECOWAS.
"Since the October FAC, an EU Assessment Mission
has deployed to Bamako to review the state of the Malian armed
forces. The mission reported that Malian support for the mission
(this will be a key factor in ensuring that the mission is a success)
had strengthened since the Government of National Unity (GNU)
first formed in late August. However, the extent of the new Government's
support for the mission remains to be seen.
"Ministers in Council will need to take a view
as to whether the mission can still deploy despite the military's
forced removal of the Prime Minister. This will also depend upon
on-going discussions on this issue at the UN. As the need for
intervention remains, and as the President remains as a legitimate
political figure, it is likely that Ministers will agree to continue.
If Ministers do wish to proceed, it is important that planning
is well advanced to enable as rapid a deployment as possible.
"An EU Crisis Management Concept - the first
formal planning document - was agreed at the December FAC and
sets out the missions' broad objective. This is to provide military
training and advice in the South of Mali to the Malian Armed Forces
in order to contribute to increasing their military capacity
to engage in combat operations aimed at restoring the Malian
territorial integrity. This mission is not mandated to deploy
to the area of combat operations of the ECOWAS-led forces and
Malian Armed Forces. EU Training Mission (EUTM) Mali will not
be involved in operational actions in the north. We support the
scope of this action and have been intimately involved in its
"The EUTM would form the first phase of international
efforts to return northern Mali to government control. It would
train the Malian armed forces to enable them to lead an intervention
comprising ECOWAS Member States and other contributing nations.
The EU has promised to provide support to the ECOWAS mission
through the APF, which is currently funding missions in the Central
African Republic (MICOPAX) and Somalia (AMISOM). We have expressed
concern that existing funding for the APF will not be sufficient
to cover a new, additional mission to Mali, and were pleased that
the November FAC Conclusions addressed these concerns. For 2013,
it is estimated that the APF would require approximately 270
million to sustain existing missions in Africa, and cover the
mission to Mali (AFISMA), which has an indicated need of 50
million in 2013. It will be important for us to work with our
EU partners to identify additional funds for the APF to avoid
an anticipated funding shortfall in 2014, which will have implications
not only for AFISMA, but also for AMISOM. A non-functioning APF
will have major repercussions on EU-Africa relations, and will
impact negatively on the policies and activities of our African
"In view of the situation in Bamako and the
need for a swift deployment to address it, and given the general
consensus around the parameters of the mission, the EU Military
Committee assessed that Military Strategic Options (MSO) were
not required. Planning will consequently move straight to the
Initiating Military Directive. This will provide the guidelines
for the Operations Commander to draw up more detailed planning.
There is precedent for such an approach. In planning for the
CSDP mission currently underway in Niger, we agreed with European
partners to combine the CONOPS and O-Plan phases of planning in
to a CONOPS-plus. Whilst an accelerated planning timeline runs
the risk of missing important stages in the process the UK, along
with a number of other EU Member States, are working to ensure
that the planning for Mali covers all necessary stages. We are
currently content that the planning work to date and the planned
future planning work will ensure a mission in Mali benefits from
the necessary planning and preparation.
"However, before that action takes place, a
Council Decision is needed to establish the mission and its Operation
Commander, as well as releasing a small proportion of the mission
budget to enable further planning. A further Council Decision
will be required to formally launch the mission. The 10 December
FAC Conclusions provided generic support for the mission, building
on the Conclusions agreed at the October and November FACs, recognising
the need for urgent action in Mali and giving formal agreement
to proceed with planning for the CSDP mission deployment. Intensive
negotiations over the text of the first Council Decision are ongoing
in Brussels. There is constant dialogue between officials in
London and Brussels to ensure we are fully up to speed with proceedings,
and we are mindful that we will need to provide an Explanatory
Memorandum (EM) to the Committee as quickly as possible once the
Council Decision has been agreed.
"We have signalled our wish to give approval
once the Council Decision has passed Scrutiny. France is strongly
pressing for adoption of a Council Decision before Christmas in
order to trigger further planning processes, particularly following
the latest events in Bamako and their impact on security and on
Malian government interlocutors. Due to our scrutiny obligations,
we have made clear that this timing is difficult for the UK.
But we remain committed to supporting this Mission and wish to
avoid delaying progress for the reasons above. I would be grateful,
therefore, if the Committee would be able to consider scrutiny
of the Council Decision during its meeting next week, if it becomes
available before 17 December. My officials will be available
for further questions, in person and in writing as the Committees
find most useful, in the coming week (before Parliamentary recess
begins), and I trust will be able to assist you if the Council
Decision is available and scrutiny therefore takes place.
"Finally, I should emphasise that this Council
Decision will not definitively launch the mission. A second Council
Decision will be required to approve the operational details and
deployment of the mission. However, early approval of this Decision
will enable planning to continue and ensure that we are better
able to advance key enabling activities including force generation
and operational planning. I appreciate this is a significant
request of the Committee and would be grateful for your understanding
given the circumstances."
The draft Council Decision
2.7 The draft Council Decision is designed
"to enable the Union to conduct a military training
mission, EUTM Mali, to provide, in the South of Mali, military
training and advice to the Malian Armed Forces (MAF) operating
under the control of legitimate civilian authorities, in order
to contribute to restore their military capacity with a view to
enabling them to conduct military operations aiming at restoring
the territorial integrity of Mali [and to reduce the threat posed
by terrorist groups]."
2.8 The Mission "shall not be involved in combat
2.9 The Mission's objective shall be "to respond
to the operational needs of the Malian Armed Forces through the
support for the benefit of Malian Armed Forces;
"training and advice in command
and control, logistical chain and human resources as well as training
on International Humanitarian Law, protection of civilians and
2.10 EUTM Mali "shall aim at strengthening conditions
for a proper political control by legitimate civilian authorities
of the Malian Armed Forces."
2.11 The activities of EUTM Mali "shall be conducted
in close coordination with other actors involved in the support
to the Malian Armed Forces, in particular the United Nations (UN)
and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)".
2.12 Brigadier General François Le Cointre
would be appointed Mission Commander, with a headquarters in Mali
(both Operational and Force) and a support cell in Brussels.
2.13 The remainder of the draft Council Decision
is in standard terms for this type of Mission. Under the responsibility
of the Council and of the High Representative of the Union for
Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HR), the Political and Security
Committee (PSC) shall exercise the political control and strategic
direction of the mission. Without prejudice to the chain of command,
the EU Mission Commander shall receive local political guidance
from the Head of the EU Delegation in Bamako in close coordination
with the EU coordinator for Sahel. EUTM Mali shall coordinate
with EUCAP SAHEL Niger with a view to exploring possible synergies.
EUTM Mali shall also coordinate with Member States' bilateral
activities in Mali, with other international actors in the region,
in particular the UN, the AU and the ECOWAS and bilateral actors
including the US and Canada, and with key regional actors.
2.14 The common costs shall be administered in accordance
with the Council Decision 2011/871/CFSP of 19 December 2011 establishing
a mechanism to administer the financing of the common costs of
European Union operations having military or defence implications
(the "Athena mechanism").
The financial reference amount for the common costs shall be
2.15 The Decision will enter into force on the date
of its adoption, and the mandate of EUTM Mali shall end 15 months
after the Council Decision to launch the mission.
2.16 In his Explanatory Memorandum of 18 December
2012, the Minister for Europe (Mr David Lidington) describes the
background to and rationale for the mission in essentially the
same terms as in his letter of 13 December.
2.17 The Minister says that the events of 10 December,
involving the arrest by the Malian army and subsequent forced
resignation of Prime Minister Cheick Modibo Diarra, arose from
tensions between Diarra and the military over the proposed African
Union/ECOWAS intervention in Mali and underlying tensions about
who would govern Mali in the longer term. He then says:
"The Prime Minister's arrest and subsequent
forced resignation forced the resignation of the entire Cabinet.
President Traoré has since appointed a new Prime Minister,
we think influenced by the military. The new Prime Minister, Django
Cissoko, has been widely welcomed (in private) as a more conciliatory
figure than Diarra. But the events of 10 December demonstrate
clearly the volatile situation in Mali and the need for action
to resolve the continuing instability.
"A new government was appointed on 15 December
and will be expected to continue working on a political roadmap
towards democratic elections and the reuinification of Mali. However,
it is too early for us to assess the full extent of the new government's
engagement with international activity. President Dioncounda Traoré
remains in place, however, and the new Prime Minister, Django
Cissoko, is widely regarded as a competent addition to the Cabinet.
Crucially, 19 of the 30 Ministers from the previous Cabinet returned,
including at the key Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Defence and
2.18 The Minister then notes that the EU agreed a
long-term Strategy for Security and Development in the Sahel in
March 2011, and says:
"The Strategy focussed on Mali, Niger and Mauritania
and recognised the interlinked security and development issues
in the region. Alongside this, the EU is well placed to provide
military action through CSDP to help restore the rule of law in
Bamako, while gradually building the capacity of the Malian army
and security services to improve long-term security and stability.
The proposed EU Training Mission will therefore focus on training
the Malian armed forces and will not be involved in combat operations."
2.19 The Minister then reviews developments at the
October and November FACs in the same terms as in his 13 December
letter, and again says Ministers in Council will need to take
a view as to whether the mission can still deploy despite the
military's forced removal of the Prime Minister. He then says:
"This will also depend upon on-going discussions
on this issue at the UN. However, since December 10 President
Traore has appointed a new Prime Minister and the new Cabinet
consists to a large extent of former Ministers from the previous
Government of National Unity. We therefore do not assess that
there will be a significant change in position.
"As the need for action remains, the President
remains a legitimate political figure, and a new government has
been appointed, it is likely that Ministers will agree to continue.
If Ministers do wish to proceed, it is important that planning
is well advanced to enable as rapid a deployment as possible."
The Government's view
2.20 The Minister continues as follows:
"An EU Crisis Management Concept the
first formal planning document was agreed at the December
FAC and sets out the missions' broad objective. This is to provide
military training and advice in the South of Mali to the Malian
Armed Forces in order to contribute to increasing their military
capacity to engage in combat operations aimed at restoring
the Malian territorial integrity. This mission is not mandated
to deploy to the area of combat operations of the ECOWAS-led forces
and Malian Armed Forces and there is no suggestion of EU troops
being involved in combat operations. EU Training Mission (EUTM)
Mali will not be involved in operational actions in the north.
We support the scope of this action and have been intimately
involved in its preparation.
"Current planning will see the mission mandated
for a 15 month period with training being delivered in three month
batches. The training will include a human rights element to mitigate
the risk of subsequent military activity leading to human rights
"In view of the situation in Bamako and the
need for swift action to address it, and given the general consensus
around the parameters of the mission, the EU Military Committee
assessed that Military Strategic Options (MSO) were not required.
Planning will consequently move straight to the Initiating Military
Directive. This will provide the guidelines for the Operations
Commander to draw up more detailed planning. Under the EU planning
process, a Council Decision, such as this, is then required to
establish the mission, appoint its operation commander and headquarters,
among other things, to enable further planning to be elaborated
by those bodies, including detailed operational, logistical and
financial planning. A new and separate Council Decision will
be required when this process is complete to decide whether to
formally launch the mission. This will depend on the political
circumstances in Mali at the time. However, in order to be best
prepared to deploy should circumstances on the ground permit,
the Government believes that the planning process facilitated
by this current Decision should proceed as quickly as possible.
"We have therefore signalled our wish to give
approval to this Council Decision once it has passed Scrutiny.
France is strongly pressing for adoption of a Council Decision
before Christmas in order to trigger more detailed planning, particularly
following the latest events in Bamako and their impact on security
and on Malian government interlocutors. We share this assessment
and believe that supporting the EU Training Mission ties in with
UK objectives on Counter-Terrorism.
"Due to our scrutiny obligations, we have made
clear that this timing is difficult for the UK. But we remain
committed to supporting this Mission and wish to avoid delaying
progress for the reasons above."
2.21 The Minister then turns to the wider context:
"A mission to Mali would also complement the
civilian CSDP mission to neighbouring Niger. This mission, which
similarly focuses on building capacity in the Nigerien security
services to reinforce the rule of law and counter terrorism and
organised crime, deployed at the end of July. There could also
be read-across to a prospective mission in Libya, focussing on
"EUTM Mali would form the first phase of international
efforts to return northern Mali to government control. It would
train the Malian armed forces to enable them to lead an intervention
comprising ECOWAS Member States and other contributing nations.
The EU has promised to provide support to the ECOWAS mission through
the Africa Peace Facility, which is currently funding missions
in the Central African Republic (MICOPAX) and Somalia (AMISOM).
We have expressed concern that existing funding for the APF will
not be sufficient to cover a new, additional mission to Mali,
and were pleased that the November FAC Conclusions addressed these
"For 2013, it is estimated that the APF would
require approximately 270 million to sustain existing missions
in Africa, and cover the mission to Mali (AFISMA), which has an
indicated need of 50 million in 2013. It will be important
for us to work with our EU partners to identify additional funds
for the APF to avoid an anticipated funding shortfall in 2014,
which will have implications not only for AFISMA, but also for
AMISOM. A non-functioning Africa Peace Facility will have major
repercussions on EU-Africa relations, and will impact negatively
on the policies and activities of our African partners.
"Simultaneously, we are also considering what
practical support we might provide bilaterally to those anglophone
countries in West Africa (such as Nigeria) who have undertaken
to contribute forces to the proposed ECOWAS mission should it
be endorsed at the UN. We do not envisage our assistance extending
beyond pre deployment training, the provision of non-lethal equipment
and assistance with planning."
2.22 Finally, with regard to the Timetable,
the Minister says:
"Negotiations over the text of the Council Decision
have now concluded and we do not envisage any further amendments
being made to the text. The version that we have submitted to
the Committee is the final draft, but we will endeavour to keep
the Committees updated should further detail on the mission become
2.23 The Minister wrote to the Committee on 13
December because he did not then expect to be able to submit a
draft text of the Council Decision, with an EM, before the Christmas
recess. We were accordingly about to respond, thanking him for
his thorough exposition of the political rationale for the mission
and for the helpful information about the planning process thus
far, especially as it has, as he notes, been truncated. We now
take the opportunity not only to do so, but also to say how favourably
it contrasts with the way in which the provision of timely updates
and scrutiny of a similar, earlier mission, EUTM Somalia, has
2.24 We had been planning to ask the Minister
also to address, in the EM that we expected to receive some time
during the recess, the question of potential "mission creep"
(which likewise arises in the case of EUTM Somalia); and to provide
information on how it will be demonstrated that this mission has
helped to solve the problems identified, i.e. what the benchmarks
and measurable outcomes are, and when they will be reviewed.
2.25 The Committee was also minded to ask for
reassurance about how EUTM Mali will not morph into something
long-term and become bogged down, as in the Democratic Republic
of Congo; or lead on to a peace-making mission. In that regard,
we have had our attention drawn to an article in "The Independent"
of 6 December,
in which Amanda Dory, the Pentagon's deputy assistant secretary
for Africa, reportedly emphasized that no US ground troops would
enter Mali, but did not rule out the possibility of the Pentagon
contributing US warplanes to transport African troops or provide
them with aerial cover; and reportedly said that "because
of US law, the Pentagon must funnel equipment and other aid through
West African nations, the European Union and other countries".
The sort of questions arising from this statement includes:
only US transport and air cover? Or EU also? And how might "equipment
and other aid" be "funnelled" through the EU?
Though this might all be Washington "gossip", it cannot
be ignored when a "boots on the ground" mission is being
pushed through in a country whose government is rocky, particularly
when other military ventures began as training missions and developed
into something much larger and more prolonged.
2.26 There is also a question mark over the precise
scope of the mission, viz., the words in square brackets in the
"Mission" section of the draft text: "[and to reduce
the threat posed by terrorist groups]".
2.27 It is now too late to ask the Minister further
questions before this Council Decision is put to the Council for
adoption, which we understand is likely to be in the next few
days. Nevertheless, we think that the House should be given the
opportunity to hear more from him, and certainly before a final
Council Decision to launch the mission is presented for scrutiny.
As well as enabling him to say more about these issues, before
that point is reached, a debate will also enable him to say what
he expects the mission to have achieved in 15 months (there should
be benchmarks and review points); if he believes that it will
then be wound up; and, if not, what he then expects to happen.
2.28 We therefore recommend that the draft Council
Decision be debated in European Committee B, and that this debate
should take place as soon as possible after the House returns
from the Christmas recess.
8 "Mali in crisis: a political and security overview":
SN06457 of 31 October 2012. Also see the BBC's Mali profile
at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-13881370. Back
for full information on the Strategy. Back
This is EUCAP SAHEL Niger; its aim "is to improve the capacities
of Nigerien Security Forces (Gendarmerie, Police nationale, Garde
nationale) to fight terrorism and organised crime in an effective
and coordinated manner, with a view to contribute to enhancing
of political stability, security, governance and social cohesion
in Niger and in the Sahel region." See www.consilium.europa.eu/eeas/security-defence/eu-operations/eucap-sahel-niger
for full information. Back
Text taken from the draft Council Decision. Back
OJ No. L 343, 23.12.11, p.35. Back
See headnote: (34518) -: HC 86-xxv (2012-13), chapter 3 (19 December
Available at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/pentagon-plans-for-multinational-operation-in-mali-8388997.html. Back