L-R: Henri Kox, Minister Delegate for Defence; François Bausch, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defence; Atul Khare, Under-Secretary-General for Operational Support to the United Nations; Credit: MAEE - Directorate of Defence

As part of a working visit to the United States this week, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defence and of Mobility and Public Works, François Bausch, in the presence of Minister Delegate for Defence, Henri Kox, yesterday signed a letter of assist providing Luxembourg's satellite capacities to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).

On Monday 13 January 2020, at the United Nations (UN) headquarters in New York, François Bausch and Atul Khare, Under-Secretary-General for Operational Support at the United Nations, signed the letter of assist granting the use of Luxembourg's satellite capacities to this UN peacekeeping mission in Mali. 

In fact, from February 2020, Luxembourg will provide MINUSMA with GOVSAT satellite transmission capacities enabling the regional posts (Kidal, Tombuctu, Gao and Mopti) to be linked to the headquarters in Bamako, Mali's capital. It is foreseen that this contribution will significantly increase security in the mission.

In addition, Luxembourg will provide the UN with a satellite terminal allowing troops on the move to always keep in touch with their command bodies and thus ensure their security. In the past, jihadist attacks were often the source of a communications breakdown; the Luxembourg contribution will therefore allow them to maintain this vital link with their base.

In this context, the German, Belgian and Luxembourgish ambassadors signed a joint statement to the UN to settle the integration of the Luxembourg contingent into MINUSMA.

Luxembourg's Defence Minister, François Bausch, commented: “I am delighted that Luxembourg can offer the United Nations the means to exercise the mandate entrusted to it with increased security. The Luxembourg contribution, which is not simply of a financial nature, will make a real difference to the security of all allies in the MINUSMA mission”. 

For his part, Atul Khare welcomed the revival of Luxembourg's participation in UN peacekeeping operations and expressed thanks to the current Luxembourg government for its commitment.

François Bausch, together with Henri Kox, then met with Mohamed Khaled Khiari, Assistant Secretary-General at the Department of Peace Operations, also at the UN headquarters.

In addition, the ministers met with experts from the UN Climate Security Mechanism to discuss the impact of climate change on security in regions (eg Sahel) where natural resources, notably arable and pastoral land and water, are already under great pressure. The Climate Security Mechanism is a new UN unit for analysis and advice on climate security. In this context, Deputy Prime Minister François Bausch expressed an interest in exploring future collaboration in this area.

Today, Tuesday 14 January, ministers François Bausch and Henri Kox will travel to Washington D.C. for the continuation of their mission.