PM Rutte visits Dutch troops in Mali
Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Minster Liliane Ploumen (Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation) visited Mali in the past two days. Accompanied by Chief of Defense General Tom Middendorp, the visited the Dutch troops in the United Nations mission Munumsa (Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali).
The mission in Mali aims to restore security and stability, particularly in the north of the country where there are many jihadist groups. The Dutch troops form the eyes and ears for the mission. They conduct reconnaissance and gather information, which is used in the UN mission to prepare for operations. Yesterday Rutte and Ploumen took a look at the Dutch camp castor in Gao, in the north of Mali. Here they sent an update on the state of affairs, the progress of the intelligence gathering and the progress of the camp's construction. "Our men and women are booking tangible results. Their information is invaluable to the mission. The conditions are tough, but that does not prevent them to daily go out of the gate to collect information. I am extremely impressed by their professionalism and passion." Rutte said. Rutte emphasizes that a sustainable solution requires more than military action alone. "The first step is stability in the country. Luckily left and right we see hopeful developments for the next steps. There are a lot of schools open in the north of the country." The Netherlands is also investing in water management in Mali and helping to strengthen the justice sector. Minister Ploumen signed a contract on water management with the Minster Diop of Foreign Affairs. "Political dialogue is essential. That was our message to the President Keita and Prime Minister Mara." said Ploumen. "To improve the situation it is essential that our military effort is combined with economic development that benefits the population. Better and more sustainable water management is of crucial importance for the Malilans. The Netherlands can make an important contribution to it."