Mali’s ruling junta has triggered a diplomatic row with former colonial masters, France amid its political crisis.
The ruling junta on Monday told the French ambassador to Mali to leave the country, heightening tension between the two countries.
On Monday, French ambassador to Mali, Joel Meyer was summoned by Malian minister of Foreign Affairs and asked to depart the country within 72 hours.
France however said it was recalling Joel Meyer as the two countries seem far from resolving their differences.
Why the tension?
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian last week said Mali’s junta was “illegitimate” and “out of control”.
That follows recent sanctions imposed on Mali by West African regional bloc, ECOWAS to force the soldiers to return the country to constitutional rule.
But Mali believes there are external forces manipulating the actions of ECOWAS and distaste France’s posturing.
A statement was read on national television by a news anchor saying “The Government of the Republic of Mali informs the national and international opinion that, today,on Monday January 31st, 2022 that Ambassador of France in Bamako, his excellency Joēl Meyer, was summoned by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation who notified him of the decision of a Government inviting him to leave the national territory within seventy-two hours.
This measure follows the recent hostile and outrageous remarks made by the French Minister of European and Foreign Affairs and the recurrence of such remarks by French authorities towards Malian authorities, despite repeated protests (presented by the Malian authorities).”
France and other western powers have been concerned about Russia’s growing involvement in Mali’s security operations.
Mali has been finding new ways of fighting jihadists after France withdrew its forces from most parts of the country.
Moscow has reportedly sent military advisors to Mali to bolster local security forces in their fight with jihadist insurgents.