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BARKHANE – France and its allies to withdraw from Mali

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Emmanuel Macron at a press conference at the Élysée

France, its European partners and Canada have confirmed Mali’s withdrawal from the anti-jihadist military operations Barkhane and Takuba. The announcement was made on Thursday 17 February by French President Emmanuel Macron during a press conference at the Élysée. This imminent departure is justified by the deterioration of relations with the military in power in this country of West Africa. 

It is official, it is the end of the antidjihadist military operations Barkhane and Takuba in Mali. That is what France and its European partners and Canada decided. It should be noted that relations between France and the new Malian authorities continue to deteriorate.  
“We cannot remain militarily involved with de facto authorities whose strategy and hidden objectives we do not share,” Emmanuel Macron said at a press conference in the Élysée. 

In terms of the withdrawal schedule, the French President said, “We have started to close bases in the north (of Mali) we will gradually close everything, in an exercise that will take 4 to 6 months.” Some 25,000 men are currently deployed in the Sahel, including approximately 4,300 French (2,400 in Mali as part of Barkhane. The country is also home to 15,000 UN soldiers in MINUSMA, whose future is now in limbo as it relied on Barkhane’s broad support.

Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara said in an interview on Wednesday with RFI and France 24: We consider that the fight against terrorism is something essential for Mali, for Burkina, for Niger and for coastal countries (…) The departure of Barkhane and Takuba creates a vacuum. We will have to buy weapons, we will have to become more professional, but that is our duty as well. The national armies must solve the problems in our national territories and that is our philosophy.”

Joint Statement on Countering the Terrorist Threat and Supporting Peace and Security in the Sahel and West Africa .It should also be emphasized that in a joint statement on the fight against the terrorist threat and support for peace and security in the Sahel and West Africa published on the Elysée website and signed by the European Council; the European Commission; the High Representative of the Coalition for the Sahel and the African Union Commission, among others, it reads that Because of the many obstructions of the Malian transitional authorities, Canada and the European States operating alongside Operation Barkhane and within the Takuba Task Force believe that the political conditions, operational and legal forces are no longer united to effectively pursue their current military engagement in the fight against terrorism in Mali and have therefore decided to begin the coordinated withdrawal of their respective military resources dedicated to these operations. In close coordination with neighbouring States, they also expressed their willingness to remain engaged in the region, while respecting their respective constitutional procedures.” The same communiqué also states that at the request of their African partners, and on the basis of discussions on the future modalities of their joint action, they have nevertheless agreed to continue their joint action against terrorism in the Sahel region, In particular, in Niger and the Gulf of Guinea, and have launched political and military consultations with them with the aim of defining the parameters of this joint action by June 2022. 

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Recall that the Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has imposed an embargo on trade and financial transactions in Bamako since January 9, 2022, in order to sanction the military project in power to continue to rule the country for several years before organizing elections.

Anti-French Speech  
Finally, Emmanuel Macron spoke on Thursday, February 17, 2022 on the anti-French sentiment that is spreading in some African countries, including Mali during a joint press conference at the Elysée Palace with the President of the African Union, Macky Sall, President of Ghana Nana Akufo-Ado and President of the European Council. For him, the anti-French discourse that is spreading more and more on Social Networks in Africa is the fact that Russia pays activists for it: I find that many people who spread anti-French discourse in Social Networks are people who are funded. These are activists who are funded by Russia and other powers who have installed this discourse, this language»

       

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