"The assassination of two French journalists highlights just how dangerous the region remains despite French intervention last January," writes Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad, following the November 1 decision by the Dutch government to send 368 troops and 10 police officers to Mali to join the United Nations peacekeeping mission.
The Dutch soldiers will collect information on Muslim militias in the Gao region of northwestern Mali until March 2015, adds the paper. This is a necessary initiative, argues Handelsblad, which remarks that although the "rebel zone" is 5,000 km from the Netherlands, it is nonetheless in an area that can be considered Europe's back yard. And this is the main reason for "Europe's, and the Netherlands' interest in the stability of the region."
The paper also comments on the precedent set by Srebrenica, and recommends that the responsibilities of the three parties – the UN, the French army and the Dutch troops – be clearly defined ahead of time.
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