Mali To Explore New Security Partnerships As France Ends Sahel Operation - Prime Minister
UNITED NATIONS (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 26th September, 2021) Mali will be forced to explore new ways to ensure its security on its own or with new partners to fill the gap left by France ending its anti-terrorist operation in Sahel, Malian Prime Minister Choguel Kokalla Maiga said.
On June 10, French President Emmanuel Macron announced changes to the French military presence in Africa's Sahel region, including the end of Operation Barkhane by the first quarter of 2022. The operation was launched in 2014 to help local authorities enforce security.
"The new situation resulting from the end of Operation Barkhane puts Mali before a fait accompli, abandoning us mid-flight to a certain extent, and it leads us to explore pathways and means to better ensure our security autonomously, or with other partners so as to fill the gap which will certainly result from the withdrawal of Barkhane in the north of the country," the prime minister said during the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
Maiga said that France's withdrawal was "unilateral" and did not take into account the "tripartite link ... between the United Nations and Mali, as partners with France" in establishing stability in the region.
France's plans to reduce its presence in the region have already prompted Malian authorities to contact a Russian private military company for help in the fight against terrorism, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at his conference on the UNGA sidelines.