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EU prepares non-combat mission in Mozambique

EU foreign policy chief intends to reply to Mozambique’s request for help against terrorism with 'sense of urgency'

Agnes Szucs   | 06.05.2021
EU prepares non-combat mission in Mozambique

BRUSSELS

The EU prepares to send a military training mission to Mozambique, the bloc’s foreign policy chief said on Thursday.

“We are considering a potential European Union training mission, like the ones that we already have in several African countries,” Josep Borrel told reporters after EU defense ministers’ meeting in Brussels.

“We must respond to Mozambique’s request with a certain sense of urgency,” Borrell said, explaining that he would launch the preparatory work in the shortest delay.

With the strong support of the Portugal government, Mozambique asked the EU for help to fight the growing insurgency in the country’s northern region.

The militant group Ansar al-Sunna, locally known as al-Shabaab but with no established links to the armed militant group in Somalia, has wreaked havoc in northern Mozambique since late 2017, killing hundreds, displacing communities, and capturing towns.

Attacks have become more frequent in recent months, affecting natural gas plants.

The terror attacks have so far claimed over 2,000 lives and about 1.3 million people face security crisis. Nearly 670,000 people have been displaced.

The bloc supports non-combat training missions in Somalia, Mali, and the Central African Republic.

Troops withdrawal from Afghanistan

With the participation of NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, EU defense ministers also discussed the bloc’s relations with the military alliance, as well as the situation in Afghanistan.

“Our partnership with NATO is the most important one that we have,” Borrell said, adding that he took the cooperation with the military alliance for granted.

He also explained that it was out of question for EU countries to stay in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of US troops.

“The violence in Afghanistan is increasing, and it’s clear that once the US will withdraw, European Union troops will not be able to stay,” Borrell stated.

The bloc is committed to increasing coordination with NATO “to encourage a peace process, to support prosperity, security, democracy, and human rights in the country,” he said.

US President Joe Biden decided to withdraw forces from Afghanistan as of May 1.

The US administration expects to complete the withdrawal by Sept. 11, ending the 20-year war that former President George W. Bush launched after the terror attacks.

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