Mali calls on France to withdraw its forces ‘without delay’

Mali’s military-led government asked France on Friday to withdraw its forces from the Sahel region “without delay”, raising questions about Paris’ plans to withdraw over several months.

In a statement announced on public television, a government spokesman added that the results of France’s nine-year military engagement in conflict-torn Mali were “unsatisfactory”.

French President Emmanuel Macron said, on Friday, that French forces will leave Mali “in an orderly manner”, in response to a demand by the ruling military junta in Bamako to leave Mali immediately.

While French soldiers would withdraw in line with his announcement the day before, Macron said at a media conference after a summit in Brussels, they would do so in a way to continue providing protection to the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Mali, MINUSMA and others. foreign forces in the country.

“I will not give up their security even for a second,” Macron said.

French President Emmanuel Macron announced, Thursday, that he will withdraw his forces from Mali after the breakdown of relations with the country’s ruling military junta.

Relations between the two countries deteriorated sharply after the Malian military seized power in a coup in 2020, and later defied calls for a swift restoration of civilian rule.

The French withdrawal after nearly a decade is also set to lead to the departure of the smaller European Takoba special forces force, created in 2020, Mali.

France currently deploys around 5,000 soldiers across the Sahel as part of the anti-jihadist Barkhane force – the majority in Mali.

Macron said the withdrawal would take place within four to six months.

The spokesman, Colonel Abdallah Maiga, described the French withdrawal as a “flagrant violation” of the agreements between the two countries.

(France 24 with the African Union)

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