Macron says France will withdraw troops from Mali if country turns to ‘radical Islamism’ –

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Macron says France will withdraw troops from Mali if country turns to ‘radical Islamism’ – fr


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                Le président Emmanuel Macron a averti dans des commentaires publiés dimanche que la France retirerait ses troupes du Mali si elle se dirigeait vers l'islamisme radical après le deuxième coup d'État en neuf mois.
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                                    <p>La France a environ 5 100 soldats dans la région dans le cadre de son opération dite Barkhane qui couvre cinq pays du Sahel - Burkina Faso, Tchad, Mali, Mauritanie et Niger.

The Chad-based mission was launched after France intervened to push back a jihadist advance in Mali in 2013.

On Tuesday, France and the European Union denounced an “unacceptable coup” after Mali’s interim president Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane were detained and stripped of their powers in what is considered the the country’s second coup in less than a year.

Macron said he told Ndaw that France would withdraw its troops if Mali turned to radical Islamism.

“Radical Islamism in Mali with our soldiers there? Never, ”he told the weekly Le Journal du Dimanche.

“There is this temptation today in Mali. But if it goes in this direction, I will withdraw, ”he warned in remarks made during a trip to Rwanda and South Africa. Macron flew to Paris on Saturday.

The French president added that he had given a message to West African leaders that they could not support a country “where there is no longer democratic or transitional legitimacy”.

ECOWAS Summit on Mali

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) invited the head of the Malian junta, Colonel Assimi Goita, to Accra, the capital of Ghana, for “consultations” for an extraordinary summit devoted Sunday to Mali.

Goita flew to Accra on Saturday, military and airport sources said.

He had held the post of vice president since last August’s coup that overthrew the democratically elected president, with the roles of president and prime minister being held by civilians after pressure from ECOWAS, which served as mediator.

However, the transitional leaders were arrested on Monday before being released on Thursday, with the military saying it had resigned.

The two arrests sparked a diplomatic outcry and marked the second apparent coup in a year in the Sahel country.

The Constitutional Court of Mali completed on Friday Goita’s accession to full powers by appointing him transitional president.

With the junta going back on its previous commitment to civilian political leaders, doubts have been raised about its other commitments.

Macron, in his comments published on Sunday, warned that if Africa’s development fails, Europe “will pay dearly in terms of migration.”

He stressed the need to “invest massively” adding that the international community must also erase part of the continent’s debt burden “to help Africans build their future”.

(AFP)

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