The Malian ruling junta has declared that France no longer has a “legal basis” for military operations in the country after Bamako withdrew from major defense agreements.
The announcement came on Malian television late Tuesday a day after the junta departed from a number of agreements that underpinned French and European missions in the jihadist-hit. state.
Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop said it would take six months to formally end the implementation of the 2014 defense cooperation agreement with France.
However, the legal termination of the agreements signed in 2013 and 2020 on French Barkhane and European Takuba operations in Mali was immediately implemented, he said.
“Therefore, on 2 May, the agreement covering Barkhane and the agreement covering Takuba on Mali will cease ….
France deployed thousands of troops to Mali, backed by drones and warplanes, under its operation Barkhane – a mission aimed at helping vulnerable allies in the brutal Jihadist insurgency.
But relations between Paris and Bamako have become very close after officials in disarray seized power in August 2020, much to the chagrin of Mali’s elected president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.
The tension erupted after the introduction of the paramilitary junta that France and others say are mercenaries from the controversial Wagner group.
In February, France, citing “obstacles” at the junta, announced the withdrawal of its forces from Mali – a move also related to Takuba, a French – led mission with special forces from European allies.
Diop said Barkhane was already withdrawing from Mali and that France could continue to work on the withdrawal.
However, “Anything that happens on the territory of a sovereign state should be discussed and agreed with the state in power,” he said.
The host state, “responsible enough, will ensure that things are done properly and on time with what the government wants to be fit for purpose,” he said.
The French foreign ministry said on Tuesday that it was “unjustified” to abandon Mali on the agreements.
He also argued that the agreements covering Barkhane and Takuba could be terminated with immediate effect.
Mali denies that Wagner called in and expressed its willingness to state – to – state cooperation with France.
In Brussels on Wednesday, the European Union’s foreign policy service said it was “sorry” for Mali’s withdrawal.
“We believe we must fight the threat of terrorism in Mali. We want to see constructive work with the international forces in Mali and the transitional authorities in Mali, ”said its spokesman, Peter Stano.
On 11 April, the EU said it was “stopping” its training missions in Mali, although it would maintain a presence in neighboring countries.
The announcement followed reports of a civilian massacre in the central Malian village of Moura in March involving government forces and foreign white soldiers, suspected of being Wagner workers.
The EU has hundreds of troops and experts in Mali, where they help train the army and the national guard.
The mission is outside the framework of Barkhane, Takuba and the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali, MINUSMA, which has a number of teams from European nations.
France has lost ‘legal basis’ for Mali operations Source link France has lost ‘legal basis’ for Mali operations