The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) will be deploying an Aviation Task Force to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) for a period of 12 months, announced Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence, and Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, in a press conference today.
Canada will join 57 other countries committed to MINUSMA in an effort to bring about sustainable peace and stability to Mali and the Sahel.
“As a responsible member of the international community, we recognize the importance of working collaboratively with our partners to promote peace and security. Supported by our diplomatic negotiations, I am confident we can help make a real difference in this region through the deployment of the Aviation Task Force,” said Sajjan.
The Aviation Task Force to Mali will include Chinook helicopters to provide urgently needed transportation and logistics capacities for the MINUSMA mission. It will also include Griffon helicopters to provide armed escort and protection. Some CAF personnel will also deploy for support, the specifics of which have not yet been announced.
The Government will now look to register its pledge with the UN, and the CAF will begin preparations for the deployment.
“Today’s smart pledge is another way Canada is contributing its expertise to create a safer, more peaceful world. We are committed to improving the effectiveness of UN peace operations. We are doing this by working with partner countries to increase the meaningful participation of women, through the Elsie Initiative for Women in Peace Operations, implementing the Vancouver Principles to end the recruitment and use of child soldiers, and providing specialized training to meet the needs of the UN,” said Minister Freeland.
Canada pledged its commitment to return to peace keeping missions during the UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial conference in Vancouver in November 2017.
Canada’s mission to Mali will be the second in a series of smart pledges, aimed at leveraging Canadian expertise. The first smart pledge involves deploying a C-130 Hercules aircraft to provide tactical airlift support for the UN’s Regional Support Centre in Entebbe Uganda.
Canada’s “smart pledges” are to be deployed within a five year timeframe with planned and predictable rotations with other members states. They include a Quick Reaction Force and accompanying equipment; Aviation Task Force of medium utility and armed helicopters; and tactical airlift support to address critical gaps in the UN’s ability to transport troops, equipment, and supplies to their missions.