Mali calls for emergency UN meeting over French 'aggression'
Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop said that Mali has evidence of flagrant violations of Malian airspace by France to collect intelligence for the benefit of terrorist groups operating in the Sahel.
Mali has demanded an emergency UN Security Council meeting to make an end to what it calls French "acts of aggression", including claimed espionage and violations of sovereignty.
In a letter seen Wednesday by AFP, Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop told the Chinese presidency of the Security Council that if France's actions continue, Mali "reserves the right to use self-defence" in accordance with the UN Charter.
Diop slammed the French forces' "repetitive and frequent violations" of Malian airspace and said flights by French aircraft were involved in "activities considered as espionage" and accused France of "intimidation".
In the letter, Diop said that Mali has "several pieces of evidence that these flagrant violations of Malian airspace have been used by France to collect intelligence for the benefit of terrorist groups operating in the Sahel and to drop arms and ammunition to them."
Mali "invites" the Security Council to make sure that France "immediately ceases its acts of aggression," Diop said.
The Chinese presidency was asked by the letter to deliver these details to the council's members in the hope of arranging an emergency meeting.
While Mali also accused France of supporting jihadists, the French authorities have not responded to any of these accusations.
On the date of the letter, which was Monday, the last French soldiers withdrew from Mali after nine years of allegedly defeating jihadists in northern Mali and the Sahel, which never happened considering the increasing number of operations targeting Malian forces.
It is worth noting that France sent troops to the western African country in 2013, under the pretense of defeating terrorists in northern Mali and the Sahel, which never happened considering the increasing number of operations targeting Malian forces. The operation ended in February following the deterioration of France's ties with its ex-colony.
Malians have repeatedly taken to the streets of the capital, Bamako, in demonstrations in support of the Malian Armed Forces. The demonstrators also voiced dissatisfaction with France's actions in the country, a former colony, especially after Malian troops reportedly found bodies buried near the base in the town of Gossi, which had been under the control of French forces until they handed it over to Mali.
One of the demonstrations took place in Bamako near the Monument of Independence. Hundreds of Malians expressed dissatisfaction with France's actions, accusing the French military of the mass killings in Gossi and expressing support for Russia on the matter, considering that the French accused the Russians of staging the whole thing; a claim heavily disputed by the locals and Moscow alike.
The rally participants held posters with the slogans "Thousands of children are victims of Macron", calling Macron a white racist, "Macron, what did you need your drones for?", "Macron is the butcher of Gossi."
The demonstrations garnered many Malians' intent on getting rid of French influence in the country and holding Paris accountable for its crimes in its former colony and the largest nation in Africa.