Thu. Aug 11th, 2022

This follows after French ambassador is told to leave

By rfi

France says it will review its military presence in Mali, along with its European partners, a day after the junta in Bamako ordered the French ambassador to leave. 

French government spokesperson Gabriel Attal said Paris and its partners in the Takuba special forces unit would work “between now and mid-February” to decide on changes to their presence in Mali.

“It is clear that the situation can’t go on like this,” he told France Info radio on Tuesday.

France has already started to scale back its Barkhane operation that has been fighting jihadists in the Sahel region for nearly a decade.

The goal of the Takuba force, created in 2020, was to bring in European partners to support France in training Malian units, and eventually fighting alongside them.

The military junta that took over in a coup in August 2020 has reportedly been hiring mercenaries from the Russian paramilitary group Wagner, and France has warned that it would be untenable for its forces to fight alongside them.

Mali has denied deploying the mercenaries.

On Monday the junta gave the French ambassador 72 hours to leave, after comments by French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian about its legitimacy, which it considered “hostile”.

The decision was another step in the isolation of the former French colony, said Attal, after the junta proposed to delay elections and a return to civilian rule for up to five years, despite an earlier commitment to hold a vote by the end of February 2022.

The West Africa bloc Ecowas imposed a trade embargo and border closures with Mali on 9 January, a move backed by France, the EU, and the United States.

Credits | rfi

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