Last week, The King visited Swedish UN soldiers based in Timbuktu and Bamako in Mali.
Sweden has contributed soldiers to UN efforts in Mali since the beginning of 2015. Swedish forces have played an important role in the intelligence unit working for stability, peace and security for the people of Mali. This is done by mapping, gathering and analysing information about the conflict and armed groups in the area. The aim is to predict and prevent attacks on civilians, and to contribute information for peace and ceasefire agreements.
The King visited the Swedish UN unit Mali 10, which is based at Camp Nobel near Timbuktu. There, The King and Chief of Operations Jan Thörnqvist were given a detailed review of the unit and its operations. This included a tour of the hospital, the workshop and the reconnaissance company's equipment.
During a battalion parade, The King gave the unit a speech in which he said:
"Soldiers! Your work is both demanding and complex. You, just like your predecessors, have done excellent work to build up and maintain confidence here in Mali. This confidence is essential to the success of the task at hand. You do important work that reflects the great role of peace and security. Like all such assignments, there are also risks. I would like to send my particular thoughts – and thanks – to your families. Without their support, these efforts would not have been possible. I hope they understand how much your presence means here in Mali."
The King also visited Swedish soldiers in Bamako. Swedes providing support for logistics supply to the Swedish efforts are based there, together with those taking part in the EU Training Mission (EUTM) for Mali's armed forces. The EUTM is part of a long-term EU strategy for the entire region, with the aim of restoring law and order and neutralising the threat of terrorism.
In Bamako, The King met the military cooperation group at Camp Midgård, consisting of Swedish officers and soldiers. The King also met the management of the EUTM and the EU Capacity Building Mission in Mali (EUCAP Sahel Mali), as well as the Mali-based Barkhane General Marsac.
As part of his visit to Bamako, The King also paid a courtesy visit to Mali's President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, Special Representative Mahamat Saleh Annadif, who is leading the UN stabilisation mission (Minusma) in Mali, and the Swedish Lieutenant General Dennis Gyllensporre, who has been Minusma's Military Commander for just over a year.