Tbilisi, DFWatch – Georgia’s participation in the EU led mission in Mali is finally decided but the details has been yet to be defined, nor is it clear how many Georgian officers will participate in operation in the war-torn African nation, Vako Avaliani, Advisor of the Defense Minister, told DF Watch.
It is ‘an active ongoing working process’ and ‘the ministry will inform people’ about the details when the process is finished, Avaliani said.
There is clear only that officers of Georgian Army Headquarters will participate in the operation under EU auspices.
“This will put grounds to Georgia’s integration into Europe and that’s why we proposed our participation,” Avaliani said. “I can tell you now that it won’t be a direct military participation. Rather it means assistance in the form of consulting. Other details are currently under review.”
No specific timetable had been agreed upon, he added.
Irakli Alasania, the Defense Minister, stated about Georgia’s possible participation in the Mali mission on Brussels’ Forum in February. He said that Georgian government agrees to accept proposal from the European partners to contribute to the Mali mission. Sixteen EU member states and Norway take part in the mission so far.
Colonel André Evrard, Military Attaché Lieutenant of France to Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia, on Thursday told Georgian journalists that for Georgia it will be very important to participate in Mali mission on its way to NATO and EU integration.
He added that if Georgia sends officers to Mali they would probably become the part of EU contingent.
Georgia received a proposal from EU’s foreign policy spokesperson Catherine Ashton in the end of 2012 when she visited Georgia.
Georgia is currently actively participating in NATO operations and it is the largest non-member contributor to NATO’s ISAF operations in Afghanistan. According to ISAF website 1561 Georgian troops are serving in Afghanistan today. They are deployed in Helmand, the deadliest from Afghanistan’s 34 provinces.