(Paris) France on Monday firmly denied the “unacceptable” and “indecent” accusations of the “abandonment” of Mali made by the Malian prime minister in front of the UN platform, which amount to “having your feet on the blood of French soldiers wipes ”, one who died on Friday.
Posted on Sep 27, 2021 at 5:10 pm
“There is no French withdrawal, I would like to start by restoring untruths,” argued Federal Defense Minister Florence Parly during a conference in front of students at Sciences-Po Paris.
When we have 5,000 soldiers and we break away from three rights of way, and we intend to leave several thousand more when we use state-of-the-art armaments in the Sahel […] it is not the normal attitude of a country that wants to leave the country.
Federal Minister of Defense Florence Parly
The Malian Prime Minister Choguel Kokalla Maïga accused France on Saturday of “setting out on the run” in the reorganization of its military presence in the Sahel zone, thereby defending Bamako’s decision to start talks with the Russian private paramilitary Wagner.
“It’s a lot of hypocrisy, it’s a lot of bad faith, a lot of indecency, especially because those words were made on Saturday September 25th, but on Friday September 24th, a 52nd French soldier gave his life to the Fight terrorism in the Sahel. ” said Florence Parly.
“The aim of” recourse to Wagner “is not to keep the commitments made to the international community,” according to which the military junta will return power to the civilian population by organizing elections in Mali in February 2022, commented the French minister.
“Wipe your feet on the blood of French soldiers”
“I have the impression that the date” set by the Malian authorities, who came to power through a coup in August 2020, “does not suit them perfectly and they want to make it permanent.” But from then on, wiping your feet on the blood of French soldiers is unacceptable, ”she said.
“The restructuring of our military system in the Sahel is neither a move away from Mali nor a unilateral decision, and it is wrong to say the opposite,” said the French Foreign Ministry spokesman on Tuesday. The adaptation of this system “since the Pau summit (France) in January 2020” has been the subject of “consultations with the authorities of the Sahel and Mali”.
Paris committed in June to reorganizing its military system in the Sahel, in particular by leaving Mali’s northernmost bases (Kidal, Timbuktu and Tessalit) and planning to reduce its personnel in the region to 2500-3000 by 2023, compared to more than 5,000 today.
The French troop commander Barkhane also denied any lack of advice and any task.
“The plan to leave Kidal, Tessalit and Timbuktu […] was developed with the heads of state of the G5 zone “(G5 Sahel: Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso and Chad), said General Laurent Michon during a trip to Nouakchott, Mauritania and emphasized that the peacekeeping forces of the UN mission (Minusma) and the Malian army remained present in these three places.
France warned Bamako that the Wagner Group’s engagement in Mali was incompatible with its military presence and that of other countries and international organizations on the ground.
Paris on Monday also reiterated its call at the United Nations for parliamentary and presidential elections to be held in Mali on February 27, in line with the commitments made by the junta that has taken power in that country to the international community is.
The Malian prime minister told AFP on Sunday that they could be postponed for a few weeks or months.
“It is imperative to respect this timetable,” said French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, who is responsible for France’s annual speech in this context, in a video pre-recorded and broadcast to the United Nations General Assembly international forum.