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Following a Strategic Review process, the Council of the European Union (EU) decided to extend the mandate of the EUTM Mali until 18 May 2024. This is first time that the mandate has been extended for a period of four years. Mali and the Malian Armed Forces (MaAF) remain at the heart of the EUTM Mali. The Mission’s area of operations has been expanded and now comprises the whole of Mali. Additionally, the Council also authorised the extension of EUTM Mali’s area of operations to provide military assistance to the G5 Sahel countries. In practical terms, to support the G5 Sahel countries, EUTM Mali will follow a gradual approach and engage in support outside of Mali as conditions and resources allow, with priority given to Burkina Faso and Niger. Support for the operationalisation of the G5 Sahel Joint Force is not a new aspect of EUTM Mali’s mandate however, the broadening of its scope is new and will enable EUTM Mali to provide more effective support tailored to the G5 Sahel Joint Force’s needs.

Mandate 5 will be implemented in a phased approach. During Phase 1, activities in favour of the MaAF will be implemented as a continuation of the 4th Mandate and closer support will be provided to the MaAF in Central Mali with emphasis on the new concept of accompaniment and military assistance activities respecting the non-executive character of the Mandate. The activities in support of G5 Sahel constitute a subsequent step. Specific support to Burkina Faso, possible Niger, during Phase 1 is envisaged. This however, would require the timely provision of additional personnel, assets and resources, airlift capabilities and in-theatre agreements.

During Phase 2, additional capacity will be generated and deployed. The Mission will therefore be able to consolidate military assistance activities according the MaAF’s requirements and conduct simultaneous decentralised activities at all levels of the MaAF Chain of Command as well as that of the G5 Sahel Forces. Mandate 5 will be implemented within certain parameters. Firstly, despite an extension of the Mission’s area of operation: all EUTM activities outside Mali will require the explicit consent of the Host Nation on whose territory these activities are to be carried out. Secondly, decentralised activities will be carried out in secure locations and, thirdly, in accordance with the EU legal framework, EUTM Mali personnel will not participate in combat operations. Furthermore, activities outside Mali will not include the permanent presence of EUTM Mali personnel.