Merkel Says Mali Mission Protects Europe, Sends Transport Planes

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that security in northern Africa is also Europe’s security after her government offered two transport aircraft to assist the military operation combating insurgents in Mali.

The two Transall transport planes will fly African troops from the Economic Community of West African States to the Malian capital Bamako as French ground forces start operations to repel insurgents controlling northern Mali, Merkel told reporters today in Berlin.

“Germany views security in the region also as a part of its own security,” Merkel said after meeting with Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara, chairman of Ecowas. “Terrorism in Mali, or northern Mali, isn’t only a threat for Africa, but also a threat for Europe.”

As French formations moved north from Bamako toward rebel-held territory, Ouattara said there was a risk that the insurgents might move out of Mali and threaten the rest of the region. He called for humanitarian assistance and democratic elections in Mali by July at the latest.

“We need a legitimate, recognized government that’s elected by the Malian people in order to bring order and territorial integrity to Mali,” Ouattara said.

The Transall aircraft don’t comprise a mission that would require a parliamentary mandate, German Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere said earlier. Should an expanded operation require a mandate, the government may seek it, he said.

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