The Norwegian authorities have announced that the country has decided to close its embassy in Mali’s capital city, Bamako, by the end of this year.
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway, the decision to close the embassy in Bamako was taken due to security concerns, following the UN Security Council decision to put an end to UN Operation MINUSMA by the end of 2023.
As the Ministry explains, there will be consequences with the ending of the operation. For this reason, it has been decided to close the embassy so none of the staff in Mali faces any concerns related to their safety.
Commenting on the country’s decision, the Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Anniken Huitfeldt, said that Norway would follow up its presence in Mali in a different form but did not disclose any further details.
“There is an urgent need to promote stabilisation, conflict resolution and development in the Sahel. Conflict and the impacts of climate change are causing widespread humanitarian need. At the same time, the underlying conditions for international engagement have changed significantly in recent years. We, therefore, have to find other ways to follow up our interests in Mali moving forward,” Huitfeldt stated.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the situation in Mali has been volatile since the two military coups in 2020 and 2021. The same stressed that once the UN operation comes to an end, it will become more difficult to maintain diplomatic activity in the country.
In addition to Mali, the Embassy of Norway in Bamako is responsible for representing Norway in Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Niger, and Chad. Now that the embassy is expected to shut down soon, the Norwegian authorities said that they are working to find a solution to safeguard the diplomatic representation of Norway to all these countries.
“The closure of the Embassy in Bamako does not mean that Norway is ending its engagement in the Sahel. Humanitarian needs remain high, and Norway will continue to be a long-term and reliable partner to the civilian population in the Sahel,” Huitfeldt added.
In addition to the above-mentioned, the Ministry said that in 2022, Norway offered a total of €745 million of aid to the countries in the Sahel region, of which €180 million to Mali.
As for this year, the Ministry revealed that the country has given around €450 million in humanitarian aid to all the countries of the Sahel.