Have tensions reached a peak?

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The French ambassador to Mali has three days to leave Mali. The decision was announced on Monday, January 31, at the start of the afternoon by the financial transition authorities, following a summons from Joel Meyer at the State Department. This is the latest episode of several months of tense exchanges between the authorities of the two countries that leave great doubts hanging over the future of relations between France and Mali.

The French diplomat was expelled. With hostile and outrageous remarks who was held captive in recent days by Jean-Yves Le Drian. The French foreign minister, among other things, described it as ” illegal » Transitional authorities. The ambiguity and hostility shared by the Malian and French authorities have not gone away yet. But has the peak been reached?

Bamako’s wishes It maintains dialogue and continues to cooperate with all its international partners, including France A call that is difficult to reconcile with the robust style chosen that has surprised many observers, including financial policy experts. For its part, Paris Affirms its commitment to achieving stability and development in the Sahel region “But without mentioning Mali by name.

Read also: Mali: The French ambassador was summoned by the authorities to leave the country within 72 hours

Since the Danish battalion was expelled from the Takuba force last week, the 15 European countries that contribute to it have taken the initiative Think about the future of this force, about Barkhan. Who are on the financial territory increasingly Disputed on the street. Bamako has also requested a series of amendments to existing military agreements, but Paris has yet to respond.

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The Malian transitional authorities, which have also been embroiled in a standoff with the Economic Community of West African States, appear determined to change their relations with their traditional partners, even if that means risking isolation. By recalling the presence of other powers – Russia, but not only – and waving the flag of national sovereignty.

The culmination of months of stress

If exchanges have been difficult since the overthrow of Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta in August 2020, the tone has already risen from the second military coup, in May 2021. On June 10, Emmanuel Macron announced “ deep transformation of the French military presence in the Sahel. And the following month, he specified in particular the closure of the bases of Kidal, Tessalit and Timbuktu. It is a strategy that transitional Prime Minister Chogoel Maiga does not like, who deplores “ Abandon in the middle of the journey “,” To the podium of the United Nations September 25.

Response from the French President: « The Malian Prime Minister is the son of two coups (…) The legitimacy of the current government is democratically invalid In this context, at the end of December, Emmanuel Macron officially canceled his visit to Mali due to the health crisis.

At the beginning of the year, it was the forced withdrawal of the Danish contingent from the Takuba force that led to a stinging exchange. A week ago, the French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly announced that the junta is multiplying “ provocations ».

Then Colonel Abdullah Maaika, the government spokesman, gave board “For Florence Parly to remain silent, accusing Paris of seeking to divide the millions,” to take advantage of “Subregional Organizations and their Preservation” colonial reactions Then the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abdallah Diop, mount on rfi antenna Friday against statements full of contempt He warned that his country would not be excluded. no thing in its relations with France.

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Wagner’s presence and the duration of the transfer

Moreover, Paris strongly opposed the possibility of Bamako setting up new partnerships. In view of the Russian paramilitary company Wagner. Until then, the financial authorities in the transitional period insist on one point: no contract has been signed with this particular group. Despite his denials, the tone continued to rise.

Read also: Mali: Has the deployment of Russian soldiers, or even Wagner, begun?

Mais les relations entre Paris et Bamako se sont égallement envenimées sur la question de la durée de la transition : fin octobre, les autorités maliennes annoncent le report des élections prévues le 27 février pour des raisons de sécurité, des et depuents écords, A great day. In the absence of consensus, the Economic Community of West African States imposed Severe diplomatic and economic sanctions against Mali. Based on the principle of national sovereignty, the financial authorities accuse France of exploiting sub-regional organizations.

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