January 31, 2019 – Ottawa, Ontario – Global Affairs Canada
Following a productive meeting on the margins of the NATO Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in December 2018, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Teodor-Viorel Meleșcanu, Romania’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, today announced that Romania will supply transport helicopters to the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali (MINUSMA), after the end of the Canadian deployment in Gao in 2019.
United Nations peace operations provide critical support to countries in crisis, advance political solutions for reconciliation and social cohesion and set conditions for durable and inclusive peace. Through their support to MINUSMA and other contributions in Mali and the Sahel, Canada and Romania stand shoulder to shoulder with the Malian people in their quest for lasting peace and sustainable development.
Romania’s commitment to replace Canada is an example of the continuing close cooperation among NATO allies to deliver critical capabilities to the UN, in line with the “smart-pledging” approach, which ensures countries’ contributions match real needs on the ground.
Canada and Romania salute the courage and determination of the civilians, military and police deployed to MINUSMA and are proud to be contributing to this mission.
“Canada welcomes the commitment of Romania, a credible and capable troop-contributing ally, to replace our Canadian Air Task Force in MINUSMA. We look forward to continuing to work with the UN, Romania and many other NATO allies to ensure a smooth transition in 2019.”
– Hon. Chrystia Freeland, P.C., M.P., Minister of Foreign Affairs
“In line with its long-standing support for multilateralism, Romania is proud to cooperate with Canada and other close partners in providing a substantial and effective contribution to a very important UN mission.”
– Teodor-Viorel Meleșcanu, Romania’s Minister of Foreign Affairs
“Canada continues to make a difference in the region through the Air Task Force with the UN peace operation in Mali. Romania is a close ally to Canada and one that we already work alongside through multilateral institutions like NATO, and we welcome its commitment to undertake this important work.”
– Hon. Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence
During the UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial hosted by Canada in Vancouver, British Columbia, in November 2017, Canada pledged to improve the effectiveness of UN peace operations in a number of ways, including through smart pledges, which are commitments of high-value capabilities made in partnership by two or more UN member states to answer specific, targeted needs around the world.
In March 2018, Canada committed to deploying an Air Task Force (ATF) of helicopters to MINUSMA for a period of one year. Known as Operation PRESENCE, the ATF became operational in August 2018 and is providing critical medical evacuation, logistics and transportation capability to the UN out of Gao, northern Mali. Canada’s ATF will complete its mission on July 31, 2019.
Nearly 60 countries are contributing military and police personnel to MINUSMA, including, as the largest contributors, Burkina Faso, Chad, Bangladesh, Senegal, Togo, Guinea and Niger.