New Norwegian led rotation in Mali for transport aircraft

Today, five countries signed a new agreement to take part in the Norwegian led rotation for a military transport aircraft to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).

- The rotation scheme will strengthen the UN mission in Mali. The mission plays a key role in the fight against violent extremism in a region that increasingly affects European security”, says Norway’s Minister of Defense Ine Eriksen Søreide.

On 20 June 2016, officials from Portugal, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium and Norway signed a Letter of Intent to establish a two-year long rotation of military transport aircraft capacity deployed to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). The rotation will run until the end of 2018. The cooperation will provide air transport services based on six months long rotations. Norway intend to sustain camp facilities and camp services in Bamako for the entire two-year period.

The letter of intent was presented to UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) Hervé Ladsous and Under-Secretary-General for Field Support (DFS) Atul Khare.

Signing of the Letter of Intent at the Norwegian Mission to the UN. (Photo: NorwayUN/Sara Shah)

Read the press release here.

The transportation aircraft plays a critical role for the UN mission in Mali. The aircraft carries both personnel and material over a large geographical area, much safer and faster than other means of transportation.

- The cooperation will ensure that the United Nations has this important capacity until the end of 2018. It provides predictability and cost-efficiency for both the UN and the contributing countries, says Søreide.

Modernization of UN missions

According to the schedule, Portugal will take over when the Norwegian transportation aircraft returns in November 2016. After that, Denmark, Sweden and finally Belgium will take over. Norway will sustain the camp facilities and camp services in Bamako for the entire two-year period.

The rotation is a pilot project in a UN context, and a contribution to the reform of UN peacekeeping.

- The rotation in Mali can be an example for other UN missions of how small nations can cooperate and coordinate their joint peace efforts. This serves as a model on how to strengthen UN peacekeeping operations in the future, says Søreide.

UN are delighted by the materialization of the important pledges made at last year's Peacekeeping Summit. 

- This contribution by Norway, Belgium, Denmark, Portugal and Sweden sends an important signal in support of peacekeeping. In addition to their highly-skilled and dedicated uniformed personnel, the deployment of the C-130 aircraft with strategic airlift capacity will play a crucial role in Mali. We look forward to their continued participation in UN peacekeeping, including at the follow up Peacekeeping meeting in London this year, says UN Under-Secretary-General Ladsous.

- This partnership is exactly the kind of innovative collaboration which we called for in the Leaders’ Summit on Peacekeeping.  The-C130 aircraft, with both strategic and tactical airlift as well as all weather, day and night capability, will become a crucial air asset for the Mission.  It will enable us to better support the implementation of MINUSMA's mandate and ultimately support more rapid, effective, efficient and responsible support to our field operation, says UN Under-Secretary-General Khare.

Norway's contribution in Mali

Since January 2016, the Norwegian contributions to MINUSMA in Mali have been a C-130J Hercules military transport aircraft which will carry out operations in Mali until the end of November 2016, four staff officers to MINUSMA headquarters as well as the operation of Camp Bifrost in Bamako.