Rabat/Bamako, Feb 1 (EFE).- The deterioration of diplomatic relations between Mali and France has entered an unprecedented chapter after Bamako expelled the French ambassador in the middle of an increasing anti-French sentiment.
Led by a coup government, the West African country prefers closer relations with Russia with an aim to find solutions for extremist groups operating in much of Mali’s territories.
French ambassador Joel Meyer was declared Persona Non-Grata by the Malian transitional authorities on Monday and was given 72 hours to leave the country in response to French officials questioning the legitimacy of the Malian military junta in power since August 2020.
Malian Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop told the country’s national broadcaster ORTM that France’s position created a perplexing situation, where Meyer cannot be accredited by authorities that he does not recognize, while he referred to recent statements by French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, who described the Malian junta as “illegitimate.”
According to Malian observers, the crisis between Mali and France goes even deeper, with France failing to end extremism in the African country despite having troops deployed in there since 2013, and thus Mali failed to expand sovereignty over its entire territory.
Swathes of central and southern Mali are under the control of extremist groups, including those who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State and Al Qaeda, while the Tuareg Berber ethnic group has control over northern areas under a de facto administration that has been in power for almost 10 years.EFE