Bamako sees the agreement as contrary to its interests.. France: We are studying a request from Mali to review the defense agreement between the two countries
The French Foreign Ministry spokeswoman confirmed that her country is studying a request from Mali to review the defense agreements concluded between the two countries, as Bamako believes that the agreement is unfair and contradicts its interests.
France had threatened to reconsider its military presence in Mali if the government of Mali, which is dominated by the army, contracts with the Russian security company Wagner, while the authorities in Mali denied their intention to conclude any contracts with Wagner.
For his part, Malian Prime Minister Shogel Maiga said earlier that his country wants to review its military agreements with France, considering them unfair and contrary to Mali’s interests.
He explained in an interview with state television that the French forces in Mali committed abuses in their activities, and prevented the Malian army from performing its duties.
He said the agreements were “unbalanced” and made Mali a country that could not even fly over its territory without France’s permission.
The French Army’s Chief of Staff confirmed that “the Ministry of Finance has sent us proposed amendments” that are “under study.”
And she added that this is “a normal procedure and not an exceptional one, but of course it has received a special resonance at the present time,” stressing that it “has no impact” on military activity, and indicated that “several operations in recent days with the Malian forces have had good results.”
For its part, the French army denied yesterday, Tuesday, control of Mali’s airspace, in response to an accusation to this effect by the Malian Prime Minister.
“Contrary to what a Malian official said, France has not at any time prevented a Malian plane from flying” over the territory of this country, the French army’s chief of staff said.
“They are sovereign and do what they want… We have capabilities in managing the airspace that the Malians do not have, especially in the north, and we coordinate air movements with them,” she added.
In a parallel context, the French army said – in a tweet – that its forces operating in Mali chased a heavily armed group it described as terrorist, who was preparing to attack a battalion of the Malian army.
The French military deployment in Mali was governed by an intergovernmental agreement concluded in 2013, and was amended in 2020 by an additional protocol related to the launch of Operation Takoba, in which European special forces participate.
France and the Europeans said they were ready to stay there “but not under any circumstances”.
Questions arose about air traffic after the sanctions imposed by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Mali, including closing the borders of member states with it.
But Paris confirms that the problem has been resolved, and the General Staff clarified that “all military aircraft and aircraft associated with the conduct of operations in the Sahel and Saharan sector were not affected by these sanctions.”