Le Drian says 'out of control' military junta in Mali cannot continue
The French Foreign Minister's comments come after recent escalations between Mali and its international partners.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Friday the confrontation in Mali with an "out of control" military junta could not continue, adding that Paris was discussing with its partners how to adjust its operations to continue confronting militants there.
Tensions escalated between Mali and its international partners after the junta failed to hold elections following two military coups.
Le Drian told RTL radio that the military council in Mali is "out of control" and illegitimate, detailing that given the current military and political situation, they cannot remain in the nation, citing that the decision is not exclusively French, but a collective decision including France's European and African allies.
The Foreign Minister added that discussions are ongoing between France and its European and African allies to decide how to proceed in light of the new situation and that the "fight against terrorism" is of utmost importance.
Days ago, Mali's transitional government demanded that Denmark withdraw its soldiers from the nation "immediately".
France and 14 other European nations urged the military council on Wednesday to allow the presence of Danish special forces as part of a broader European task force tasked with countering militants.
Defense ministers from the 14 nations will meet on Friday to discuss a plan of action.
The foreign presence in Mali is not limited to Danish forces and was preceded by the presence of French troops when they first launched Operation Serval and intervened in Mali in 2013 under the pretext of "ending the control of extreme Islamists" that started in 2012 in some Malian towns. However, the instability continued even within the French presence.
Last June, French President Emmanuel Macron announced some changes that included reducing the presence of his forces in the Sahel region and focusing efforts on "operations combating terrorism,” he said.