May 22, 2022

France and its European partners cannot “stay like this”, warns Jean-Yves Le Drian

The French Minister of Foreign Affairs did not however, not said whether he was considering a withdrawal of the French Barkhane force from the country.

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Tension is rising between Paris and Bamako. France and its European partners cannot “not stay like that” in Mali, due to growing conflicts with the junta. “It is clear that the situation as it is cannot continue”, warned Jean-Yves Le Drian, the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Friday, January 28, on RTL.

“We have initiated discussions both with our African partners and with our European partners to find out how we can adapt our system according to the new situation”, added the head of French diplomacy, without however saying whether he was considering a withdrawal of the French Barkhane force from Mali. France has already rearticulated its system in 2021 in Mali, by reducing its military presence in the North.

However, relations continue to deteriorate between the Europeans and the Malian junta, which called on the group of Russian mercenaries Wagner. Thursday, under pressure from Bamako, Denmark had to announce the withdrawal of a hundred soldiers who were to join the Takuba force, created on the initiative of France.

The Malian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abdoulaye Diop, replied to his French counterpart on Friday, on RFI and France 24: “Mali does not exclude anything on these issues either if it does not take our interests into account”. A request for the withdrawal of French troops “is not currently on the table”, he added, however.