Mali’s top military leaders have given the French ambassador just three days to leave the country over “outrageous” comments made the French foreign minister concerning the transitional government.
The relationship between Mali and France went sour after the military seized power in August 2020.
The relationship strained further lately after the military junta reversed the initial agreement to organize for elections in February and instead said they want to hold power until 2025.
Mali’s interim president, Col Assimi Goita, has strengthen his power and has refused to uphold international agreements.
Last week, the French Foreign Minister – Jean-Yves Le Drian – said that Mali’s leadership was “illegitimate and takes irresponsible measures.”
On Monday Jan 31, the Malian government summoned the French ambassador, Joël Meyer, and gave him 72 hours to leave the country. This is according to a statement made by Malian government on state TV.
“This measure follows the hostile and outrageous comments made recently by the French minister of Europe and foreign affairs and the recurrence of such comments by the French authorities with regard to the Malian authorities, despite repeated protests,” the statement said
Mali has been having diplomatic issues with international partners. For instance, the Malian government is reported to have order Danish soldiers deployed in the Takuba military operation to leave the country. Early this month, the representative of ECOWAS was also expelled from Mali after sanctions were imposed on the country.
Western countries are also concerned about Russia’s increased involvement in Mali. Recently, Russia sent military advisers to Mali to advise them on jihadist insurgents. There are also rumors that hundreds of Russian mercenaries are currently operating in Mali.
France which played a key role in 2013 to support Mali government deal with the jihadists is planning to reduce its own troop deployment in the country.
In 2013, Islamist militants overran parts of the north and France stepped in to help Mali military to recapture the territory in question but currently the jihadists are waging a bloody insurgency across the Sahel region.
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