GAO, Mali — The prime minister Justin Trudeau has welcomed Saturday the work of the blue Helmets-canadian during a surprise visit Mali, although he has also defended the government’s refusal to extend their mission for a few months to relieve the United Nations.
It was the first trip of Mr. Trudeau in this west African country where are made the 250 canadian troops and eight helicopters. The mission of Canadians is to evacuate the peacekeepers to other countries and employees of the UN wounded and provide for the transportation of soldiers and equipment.
It is unlikely that the prime minister returned to this country, since the canadian operations must end at the end of July. The UN and some of Canada’s allies would like to see the blue Helmets-canadian remain in Mali until the arrival of a Romanian contingent, next fall.
Mr. Trudeau arrived in Mali on board a military transport plane in the company of a delegation including the minister of Defence, Harjit Sajjan, and the chief of the Defence Staff. This trip had been kept secret for security issues.
His visit was scheduled to coincide with the Christmas celebrations of the canadian military. “We often think – and it wants to tell Canadians that the history of Canada in the maintenance of the peace is remarkable,” said Mr. Trudeau. This is not only because we are polite and kind. We have always demonstrated the ability to present and deliver blows far more powerful than our weight requires. We are able to exercise a significant influence and significant to wherever it is needed.”
The mission to Mali is the culmination of years of political promises and of military planning started three years ago when Trudeau had promised during the last federal election, to renew Canada’s participation in the missions of peacekeeping of the UN.
Although Mali has always been regarded as a probable destination for the canadian troops, the liberals have put in the time before you engage because of the danger of the mission. The arrival to power of Donald Trump in the United States has also diverted the attention of the government.
Since the arrival of the UN in Mali, more than 175 peacekeepers have been killed since 2013, including 22 in 2018. The drought, the extreme poverty prevailing in this region, and the influx of islamist fighters led to an escalation of violence and insecurity.
However, Canadians have had to evacuate six people since August, including two civilians seriously injured by the explosion of an ied.
A senior military officer said that the extreme violence that prevailed in Mali during the last several years has shifted to the south, away from the Gao, and heading towards the capital Bamako.
Mr. Trudeau emphasized the importance of the canadian mission, which also includes the movement of equipment and troops in the vast desolate landscape of Mali. He said that the work done by canadian soldiers contributed to the overall operations of maintenance of peace in the country.
“The UN troops are more efficient and can do more, because of the presence of a canadian team that can help them if they encounter difficulties.”
The mission commander, colonel Chris McKenna, echoed this, arguing that peacekeepers from other countries were relying on a medical assistance fast.
Within the UN, and of some allies, it is feared, however, that a void is created when Canadians will cease operations at the end of the month of July because the Romanian contingent successor will not arrive before October.
The united nations has been the use of civilian contractors in the past, but those responsible for the maintenance of peace, have called on Ottawa to fill the void, claiming that the military aircraft were more flexible, more economic, and would provide a better emergency medical help.
“The extension of the canadian mission provides operational and financial benefits to the UN, told The canadian Press a senior official of the UN under the guise of anonymity.
Mr. Trudeau, whose government has not yet deployed to the united nations transport aircraft pledged by Uganda, and a rapid reaction force strong than 200 people, has stated that Canada and the UN are working to ensure a smooth transition.
“We are confident, and the UN tells us that she is not worried,” he told reporters at a press conference that took place in front of one of the three Chinook helicopters based in Gao.
The visit on Saturday was also an opportunity for Mr. Trudeau to see the canadian soldiers in action as the troops have stimulated a medical evacuation by air.
The lieutenant (navy), Jennifer Loye, a nurse in the intensive care unit of the 1st canadian field Hospital in Vancouver, said that soldiers of peace were enthusiastic at the idea of presenting what they were doing for several months.
“This is, for me, the culmination of all the training I have done since I became a military, the officer said. I became a nurse. I wanted to do this kind of thing. I wanted to be able to work with people and help them. I trained as a nurse in critical care and now I do the work I want to do.”