Rod M is back on London for his stepsister's wedding in Hertfordshire on the 26th. I will try and meet him and Carolyn early on Sunday morning as they fly back at midday.
This is handy, as I want to bend his ear about Mali. He was out these with the EU as I recall.
UK withdraws troops from Mali early blaming political instability
The UK is withdrawing troops from Mali earlier than planned due to political instability in the country, Defence Minister James Heappey has said.
Since 2020 around 300 British soldiers had been in the country as part of a UN mission to protect the local population from Islamist extremism.
Mr Heappey said two coups in Mali in three years had "undermined" efforts.
He also attacked the current Malian government for working with the Russian mercenary group Wagner.
"The Wagner Group is linked to mass human rights abuses and the Malian government's partnership with the Wagner Group is counterproductive to lasting stability and security in their region," he told MPs.
The operation in Mali had been described as "the most dangerous peacekeeping mission in the world" and 288 UN soldiers have lost their lives there since 2013.
The UK is the latest country to pull its troops from Mali, with France formally ending its decade-long presence last week.
French troops had been in Mali at the request of the then-government, however, since seizing power in 2020, Mali's military rulers have fallen out with France and have instead turned to Russia to help in their fight against Islamist insurgents who are wreaking havoc across much of the country.