The ruling military junta in Mali announced, on Monday, the cancellation of defense agreements signed with France and its European partners, denouncing the “flagrant violations” of the national sovereignty by the French forces present in the country and their “many violations” of Mali’s airspace.
For weeks, the Council has been threatening to cancel these agreements, and the decision issued on Monday was further evidence of the deteriorating relations between the authorities and Mali’s old allies in the fight against the rebels.
Malian government spokesman Colonel Abdallah Maiga said in a statement to state television: The government has canceled all agreements that define a legal framework for the presence of the French Barkhane and European Takoba forces in Mali, as well as the defense cooperation agreement concluded in 2014 between Mali and France.
Colonel Maiga explained that the Malian government “has been seeing a significant deterioration in military cooperation with France for some time.”
He referred in particular to France’s “unilateral behavior” when it suspended joint operations between the French and Malian forces in June 2021, and announced in February 2022 “without any consultation with the financial side” the withdrawal of the Barkhane and Takuba forces from this country, and the “many breaches”. French aircraft to the financial airspace despite the financial authorities closing the airspace over a large part of the country’s territory.
The process of withdrawing, which puts an end to nine years of French involvement in Mali that began in 2013, and which is fraught with danger, is supposed to extend between four and six months.
The move raises questions about its possible repercussions for the ongoing withdrawal of the Barkhane force, which was announced in February after months of tensions.