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After the Danish withdrawal from Mali, Paris and Bamako on the verge of rupture

After months of stormy reports, relations continue to deteriorate every day between Paris and the Malian authorities. Tensions increased with the announcement, Thursday, January 27, of the withdrawal of the hundred men that Denmark had just deployed on the ground in order to reinforce the coalition of European special forces “Takuba”. Three days earlier, Bamako had strongly contested the conditions of their arrival, denouncing an organized reinforcement “without his consent”.

This express withdrawal of a contingent that was placed under the French command of the “Barkhane” operation is unprecedented. Beyond the symbolic aspect, it has severely undermined the capital of trust that France enjoyed with its European partners. Paris was indeed the main architect of this coalition created in 2020 and which was to serve as a showcase for the reorganization of “Barkhane” in the Sahel. This event also accentuates the mistrust of diplomacy and the French military towards the Malian junta, which came to power following two coups perpetrated in 2020 and 2021.

Read also Mali: the “Takuba” force collateral victim of the junta’s mistrust of France

“Given this situation, given the breakdown of the political framework and the military framework [au Mali]we cannot stay as it is, thus declared, Friday, January 28, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, on RTL radio. It’s not just a French decision, it’s a collective decision and so we have started discussions with our African and European partners to find out how we can adapt our system.” he added, without however saying whether he was now considering a formal withdrawal of “Barkhane” from Mali.

“Illegitimate Junta”

Already, on Thursday, Mr. Le Drian had lost his temper during a press conference. “This junta is illegitimate, taking irresponsible measures (…) and further isolates itself from its international partners”, he declared, while denouncing “the obstruction” made to the mission of the UN force in Mali (Minusma) and stressing that it would be necessary “draw consequences”.

The Malian authorities have also embarked on verbal escalation in recent days. “Mali does not exclude anything on these issues either if it does not take our interests into account”, replied, on Friday, the Malian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abdoulaye Diop, while specifying that a request for the departure of the French forces was not “for the moment on the table”. ” We are not there “, he added.

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