ECOWAS 'determined' to ensure military coups are a failure, says Niger FM

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French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian welcomes his Nigerien counterpart, Hassoumi Massoudou, to Paris after the postponement of a meeting between the EU and the G5 Sahel countries due to the coup in Burkina Faso.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Thursday the military junta in Mali is "illegitimate and takes irresponsible measures" after the West African country's transitional government said no permission had been given for Denmark's military force to deploy there.

"The junta is entirely responsible of the Danish forces withdrawal and isolates itself even more from its international partners," Le Drian said during a news conference in Paris with his counterpart Niger's Foreign Minister Hassoumi Massoudou.

Denmark will pull its small military force out of northern Mali after the government in Bamako, under coup leader Col. Assimi Goita, told the country to withdraw its 90-person contingent, which arrived in Mali just a week earlier for a one-year deployment under a European counterterrorism operation.

Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod announced the pullout Thursday, following a briefing of parliament's foreign policy committee.

The minister didn't provide a timeline.

On Wednesday, the countries behind the 15-nation European Task Force Takuba in Mali said the Danish presence is legal, and called on Bamako "to respect the solid grounds on which our diplomatic and operational cooperation is based."

The statement expressed "deep regret" that Mali claimed the Danish deployment lacked a proper legal basis and consent from the Malian government.

The Danish Foreign Ministry earlier had said Mali's former president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, had requested in 2019 that Denmark send troops to join the Takuba effort. But less than a year later, Keita was deposed in a military coup.

On Burkina Faso, Le Drian expressed his "concern and condemnation of the overthrowing of the lawful authorities" after a military junta seized control of the country a few days ago and is detaining the democratically elected president following a day of gunbattles in the capital of the West African country.

"We also wish that the physical integrity of President (Roch Marc Christian) Kabore and the other people detained is guaranteed and we call for their immediate release," Le Drian said.

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