French President Emmanuel Macron rejected on Friday Malian authorities’ demand to withdraw French anti-terrorist forces Barkhane and Takuba “without delay” from Malian territory.
“We have announced the re-articulation of the device and it will be applied in good order to ensure the security of the UN mission and all forces deployed in Mali. I will not compromise for a second on their security,” Macron said at a news conference at the end of the 6th EU-African Union summit in Brussels.
Macron believes that “all this should be done with respect because for nine years France has been helping Mali, equipping, training and accompanying the Malian armies as well as the armies of the region.”
He indicated that the French device will be rearranged a few kilometers from the border in Niger and “that in the future” France will “always have a vocation to find cooperation to fight terrorism.”
The French response followed an announcement by Mali’s transitional authorities after France and its European partners’ decision to gradually withdraw from the West African country.
Mali’s government demanded a withdrawal of the Barkhane and Takuba anti-terror forces “under the supervision of the Malian authorities.”
It considers the disengagement of France and its partners as “flagrant violations” of legal agreements between the two countries.
The results achieved and officially announced by France have been unsatisfactory, including Operation Serval launched in 2013, according to Col. Abdoulaye Maiga, the junta’s spokesman.
Despite the French and international military presence from 2013 to 2021, “Mali has risked partition,” he said in a statement Friday, noting that “the terrorist threat initially localized in the north has spread throughout the territory.”
Mali has been in transition since a 2020 coup that was orchestrated by the ruling junta. The country is under an embargo and various sanctions from African communities to which it belongs as well as the EU, which has suspended budgetary aid.
The situation has occurred since Malian leaders wished to extend the transition against the initial agreements with their partners.
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