Mali’s ruling military government has announced it was breaking off from its defence accords with former colonial ruler France, condemning “flagrant violations” of its national sovereignty by the French troops there.
A move the European Union commission for foreign spokesman termed “regrettable” as he said the decision would weaken the fight against militants in the country.
The announcement – threatened several times over the past few weeks – was the latest confirmation of deteriorating relations between Mali 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 of French forces having violated the country’s airspace. He referred to the June 2021 decision by France to end joint operations with Malian forces.
And he mentioned France’s decision taken in February to pull out its troops from Mali.
The Malian authorities said they had informed Paris of the decision on Monday afternoon.
France foreign ministry spokesman told reporters that Paris “considers the decision is unjustified and absolutely contests any violation of the bilateral legal framework”.