Bamako denounces a “profound deterioration in military cooperation for some time”
MADRID, May 3. (EUROPE PRESS) –
The Government of Mali has announced the breaking of all defense agreements with France, citing violations of its sovereignty by French troops and a “profound deterioration in military cooperation for some time”, amid bilateral tensions between the last months.
The spokesman for the transitional military authorities, Abdoulaye Maiga, has charged in a statement against the “unilateral attitude” of Paris, which “decided between June 3 and 7, 2021, without prior consultation with Mali, to suspend joint operations with the Malian Armed Forces and put an end to the ‘Barkhane’ operation”.
“Furthermore, on February 17, 2022, France announced, again without consultation with the Malian side, the withdrawal of the ‘Barkhane’ forces and the Takuba Force,” he said, while pointing to “multiple violations of airspace Malian aircraft by French military aircraft, despite the temporary no-fly zone”.
Maiga has also criticized France’s “delaying maneuver when requesting a meeting of experts to reread the defense treaty, instead of sending its amendments, after Mali did so in December 2021”, before charging against “serious deficiencies” and “flagrant attacks against national sovereignty”.
For this reason, it has “denounced” the defense cooperation treaty of July 16, 2014 and the agreements of March 2013 on the status of the deployment of French forces –which affect operation ‘Barkhane’– and the March 2020 on the deployment of “non-French forces” in the Takuba Force.
“The Government of Mali reaffirms to its partners its willingness to cooperate with all the states of the world, within mutual respect,” said Maiga, who days before accused Paris of “espionage” after Paris claimed to have recorded with a drone to alleged members of the private Russian company Grupo Wagner handling bodies to later incriminate French troops.
The Malian Ministry of Defense stated after the publication in mid-April of the alleged images of the mass grave in Gossi that “responsibility for this act cannot be attributed to the Malian Army” and announced the opening of an investigation to clarify what happened.
The governments of France and the rest of the European countries that participate and collaborate with the ‘Barkhane’ operation and the Takuba Force, in addition to Canada, announced in February the withdrawal of their forces from Mali, where they were deployed to help Bamako in the fight against jihadism.
Tensions have been on the rise in recent months due to the announcement by the military junta to extend the transition process to between four and five years and to postpone the elections scheduled for February, amid the exchange of accusations between Paris and Bamako about anti-terrorist efforts and the deployment of Wagner Group mercenaries.
The Wagner Group has sent mercenaries to several African countries in recent years –including Libya and the Central African Republic (CAR)–, which has raised suspicions about Moscow’s involvement in various conflicts on the continent.