France has condemned the military coup in Mali and has threatened sanctions against military officials if the president and prime minister are not released immediately.
“We condemn the situation in Mali with the utmost firmness,” President Emmanuel Macron said in Brussels after an EU summit. “We are ready in the next few hours to take possible sanctions against the protagonists,” he said.
In a separate tweet, Macron called the coup “unacceptable.”
A few hours before Macron’s statement, Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, addressing the National Assembly, demanded the immediate release of President Bah Ndaw, Prime Minister Moctar Ouane and the “resumption of normalcy of the transition ”.
Ndaw, Ouane and Defense Minister Souleymane Doucoure, responsible for overseeing a transition to civilian rule, were arrested by military officials in an “attempted coup” on Monday evening.
“The civilian character of the transition is a sine qua non of its credibility,” said Le Drian. He added that if there was no return to order in the transition, “we will take immediate targeting action against military officials and this is hampering the transition.” “
Le Drian said the situation would be discussed urgently at the United Nations Security Council and the African Union, Committee of the Economic Committee of West African States of ECOWAS.
Mali’s neighbors and the EU were all unanimous in condemning the coup.
France has a strong military presence and important political stakes in the security of Mali. Following a coup in 2012, he deployed troops to oust Islamist extremists and prevent a takeover of the northern region.
Since 2013, more than 5,000 French soldiers have been deployed as part of Operation Barkhane led by France alongside the G5 Sahel countries to fight against extremist armed groups in the region, in particular Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and Daesh in the Great Sahara.
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