2021-10-06 09:00:12 Mali summons French ambassador over President Macron’s criticism | News
Mali summons French ambassador over President Macron’s criticism | News
Mali’s government expressed “indignation and disapproval” after Macron suggested that the country’s government was “not even really one.”
Mali summoned France’s ambassador to express “indignation” over French President Emmanuel Macron’s recent criticism of the country’s government, which is dominated by army figures.
France and its former colony Mali have been at odds since it was revealed that the Sahel state is in talks with Russian mercenaries.
On Tuesday, Mali expressed its displeasure to the French ambassador.
These dissatisfactions were on full display at the UN General Assembly last month, when Mali’s interim prime minister, Choguel Kokalla Maiga, accused France of “sort of abandonment in full flight” over its decision to reduce its military deployment in the semi-arid Sahel region.
Macron later told French media that Maiga’s comments were “unacceptable,” and that Mali’s government was “not even really one” because of the May coup led by Colonel Assimi Goita.
‘Disapproval and indignation’
On Tuesday, Macron called on Mali’s ruling military to restore state authority in large areas of the country that had been abandoned in the face of the armed uprising.
“It is not the role of the French army to fill in for the Malian state’s ‘non-work,’ if I may use that term,” he told French media.
Later that day, Mali’s foreign ministry announced that Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop had summoned France’s ambassador to express the Malian government’s “indignation and disapproval” of Macron’s remarks.
“The minister urged the French authorities to exercise restraint and avoid making value judgments,” according to the statement, adding that Mali desired a “constructive approach based on mutual respect.”
After armed rebels took control of the north of Mali the previous year, France intervened in 2013. Since then, Paris has sent thousands of troops to the Sahel region to combat the armed insurgency.
Despite the presence of the military, violence has spread to central Mali, as well as neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger.
Thousands of people have died and hundreds of thousands have been displaced in Mali, where the state has little or no presence in large swaths of the country.
Following a military takeover in Mali in August 2020, which forced out elected President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, France decided in June to significantly reduce its Sahel deployment.
Colonel Assimi Goita, the coup leader in August, established a civilian-led interim government. However, in a second coup this May, he deposed the leaders of that government.
Last month, it was revealed that Mali’s ruling military was on the verge of hiring 1,000 paramilitaries from the Russian private-security firm Wagner, infuriating France.
Despite its planned troop withdrawal, the French government has stated that it remains militarily committed to fighting the armed uprising in the Sahel.