France: Conditions no longer conducive to continue fighting in Mali
France's Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian says his country will "re-organize" its presence in the Sahel region.
France's Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian revealed Monday that the current conditions are no longer conducive to continue fighting militants in Mali, as French President Emmanuel Macron requested to re-organize his troops in the region.
"If the conditions are no longer in place so that we can act in Mali, which is clearly the case, then we will continue to fight terrorism next door with the Sahel countries," Le Drian told France 5 television.
He pointed out that the French forces "aren't going", claiming that France will "re-organize" its presence "to ensure the fight against terrorism continues."
However, three diplomatic sources noted that the announcement on a French withdrawal from Mali would take place this week.
In addition, a draft document seen by Reuters -- distributed to countries involved in Mali -- says Paris and its European Takuba Special Forces have agreed to coordinate their military withdrawal from Malian territory.
Sharp deterioration in relations
On January 29, France's Defense Minister Florence Parly said her country cannot stay in Mali "whatever the price."
Relations between France and Mali are witnessing a sharp deterioration. The Malian Prime Minister stated before the UN General Assembly that France had abandoned his country.
Despite France's presence in Mali, ISIS and Al-Qaeda have taken control of large areas of central Mali along the borders with Niger and Burkina Faso, and their threat to the country's capital, Bamako, has become greater.
Eight years after launching its Operation Barkhane in Mali, France is preparing to end the operation.
It is noteworthy that France has already reduced its troops in the Sahel region from around 5,000 to 2,500-3,000 by 2023.