Mali junta ends defence agreement with France

File photo: Colonel Assimi Goita, leader of Malian military junta, attends an Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) consultative meeting in Accra, Ghana, September 15, 2020. /Reuters

Mali’s ruling junta announced on Monday it was disengaging from its defence agreement with France, condemning “flagrant violations” of its national sovereignty by the French troops.

Colonel Assimi Goita (C), President of CNSP (National Committee for the Salvation of People) addresses the press during the ceremony of the 60th anniversary of Mali’s independence.  /AFP via Getty Images

This announcement is the latest confirmation of deteriorating relations between Mali’s junta and France.

“For some time now, the government of the Republic of Mali notes with regret a profound deterioration in military cooperation with France,” spokesman Colonel Abdoulaye Maiga said in a televised statement.

Maiga cited multiple instances where French forces are claimed to have violated the country’s airspace. He referred to the June 2021 decision by France to end joint operations with Malian forces.

The Malian authorities said they had informed Paris of the decision on Monday afternoon but so far France has not responded officially to this announcement.

Tensions between France and the junta in Mali, which seized power in August 2020, had been rising for some time.

The agreements Mali has ended were those that set the framework for France’s intervention in Mali in 2014.

They were signed a year after French troops deployed a large force to help Mali’s armed forces stop a militant offensive there.

(With input from agencies)