Ruling junta tells French ambassador to Mali to leave the country

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Mali's ruling junta on Monday told the French ambassador to Mali to leave the country. The announcement comes after days of mounting tensions between Mali and France.

On Monday, French ambassador to Mali was summoned by Malian minister of Foreign Affairs and asked to depart the country. The move raises questions about a French-led anti-djihadist military operation present in Mali, at the request of Malian leaders.

The anchor of the national broadcaster, Youssouf Diakite, read the Government statement: "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)."

This is the latest episode in a diplomatic crisis between Assimi Goïta’s junta and European counterparts. It comes just days after Mali asked Danish soldiers deployed in the French-led Takuba military operation, to leave.

Tensions between Mali and its European and regional allies have been mounting in recent weeks as Mali's interim leader Col. Assimi Goita has delayed elections until 2026 and showed what were interpreted as signs of reluctance to uphold Mali's international agreements.

France's government did not immediately react to the expulsion.

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