Bamako: The Malian government has called on France to immediately withdraw the Barkhane and Takuba forces from the national territory under the supervision of the Malian authorities, said a statement on Friday by Abdoulaye Maiga, the spokesperson for the Malian government.
This decision was taken by Bamako, in view of the “repeated breaches of the defence agreement” between Mali and France, said Maiga in the statement. Maiga is also the Malian Minister of Territorial Administration and Decentralization, Xinhua news agency reported.
According to the statement, the Malian government insisted that it had taken note of the “unilateral decision of February 17, 2022” of the French authorities to withdraw the military forces Barkhane and Takuba in “violation of the agreements” binding France and Mali as well as involving “other partners.”
The Malian authorities said that this decision (withdrawal of Barkhane and Takuba) followed the “unilateral announcements” by France on June 3, 2021 of the suspension of joint operations with the Malian Armed Forces, and on June 10, 2021 the end of Operation Barkhane. For Bamako, these unilateral decisions “without notice and without prior consultation of the Malian side” constitute a “flagrant violation of the legal framework” binding the two countries.
The Malian authorities also stressed that they do not share France’s satisfaction with the impact of its military operations in Mali.
“Despite the presence of Operation Barkhane and international forces, from 2013 to 2021, Mali risked partition and the terrorist threat, initially located in the north, spread throughout the national territory.”
Contrary to “the allegations relating to the deterioration of the security situation,” the authorities of the transition have undertaken proactive actions to diversify partnerships, made enormous efforts to enable the Malian Armed Forces to ramp up and significantly improve the security situation on the ground over the past six months, so as to create the conditions for the holding of elections, read the statement.
French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday officially announced the withdrawal of French and European forces Barkhane and Takuba from Mali.
Facing the press at the Elysee, he assured that the European soldiers present in Mali would be redeployed in Niger on the side of the so-called three-border (Niger-Burkina Faso-Mali) region. This withdrawal, according to Paris, must be spread over four to six months.
Since 2012, Mali has been facing deep and multifaceted security, political and economic crises. Separatist insurrections, jihadi incursions and inter-communal violence have left thousands dead and hundreds of thousands more displaced in this West African country.