Tallinn, 23 July 2019 – after the attack in the city of Gao, Mali, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas said that this is a reminder for all of us to truly appreciate our defence forces who are participating in military operations on foreign lands to maintain peace and stability in Estonia and our whole region.
“I wish a speedy recovery to the members of the Estonian Defence Forces who were injured yesterday in Mali and peace of mind to their loved ones. I am also speaking on behalf of the French President Emmanuel Macron, who asked me to forward his kind wishes. Estonia is doing everything we possibly can to enhance the recovery of our servicemen,” the prime minister said.
While also sending his best wishes to the soldiers of Mali and France who were injured in the attack, Ratas recognised that Estonia has a clear role and responsibility in the world. “Every day, we rely on our allies and partners in NATO and the European Union. This gives us the responsibility to contribute to countries like Mali to ensure that their citizens have a safe living environment and a prospect for a better future,” the prime minister assured.
Estonia is participating in Operation Barkhane in Mali, led by France, as of August 2018 with a unit of up to 50 members of the Defence Forces. The objective of the operation is to support the five countries of the Sahel region (Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad) in their fight against Islamic extremists and thereby contribute to preventing illegal immigration and human trafficking to Europe.