EU Training Mission in Mali (EUTM Mali)
Ever since the first insurgence acts of armed groups in January 2012, the north of the country has been facing an unstable political and security situation, which has particularly affected the local population. The number of internally displaced persons has surpassed 200,000. In addition, about 150,000 refugees from Mali have sought refuge in neighbouring countries (Mauritania, Niger, Burkina Faso and Algeria). According to estimates, around 4.2 million people are in need of humanitarian help. Humanitarian crisis further deepens due to the unstable political and security situation, which additionally exacerbated in the second week of January 2013 due to the increase in attacks by terrorist groups. These have, inter alia, occupied the strategic town of Konna in the centre of the country. There has been a great fear that terrorist groups might continue their military invasion towards the south of the country, therefore Malian authorities asked France for assistance. The latter responded with air operations in the north and a mission to protect the population in the south of the country.
The entire international community began to respond to the deteriorating security situation in Mali, which has acquired a regional and even global scale. At the initiative of France, the Security Council of the United Nations was convened twice calling on Member States to participate in the resolution of crisis in Mali, especially in assisting Malian armed forces to reduce terrorist threats and expressing the determination to continue with the implementation of all resolutions on Mali (in particular Resolution 2085). In this context, the Security Council called for a swift deployment of the African-led International Support Mission to Mali (AFISMA). In addition, at its second session, it expressed its full support to France and attributed full legitimacy to its intervention.
Furthermore, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) adopted a decision on the immediate deployment of its forces to the AFISMA mission. Within the aforementioned mission, the forces that would include 3,300 members will be contributed by Nigeria, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Togo, Chad and Niger.
The entire international community, including the EU, responded to the worsening security situation in Mali, which began to acquire regional and even global dimensions. At an extraordinary meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council, held on 17 January 2013 in Brussels, member countries strongly condemned the acts of terrorism and supported the responses of the region and the international community to the situation in Mali. At the meeting, the EU Training Mission in Mali (EUTM) was officially established and French Brigadier General François Leconitre appointed as its commander. The Republic of Slovenia has repeatedly expressed interest in active participation in the EU's efforts to tackle the crisis in Mali. On 6 February 2013, the Government of the Republic of Slovenia decided to deploy up to four members of the Slovenian Armed Forces to the EUTM mission, with the possibility of rotation. The first Slovenian Armed Forces member was deployed on 19 March 2013.