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Mali Summons French Ambassador over Macron Criticism


Wed 06 Oct 2021 | 09:29 AM
Omnia Ahmed

Mali's foreign ministry summoned France's ambassador to Bamako on Tuesday over recent criticism by French President Emmanuel Macron that it said were unfriendly and disagreeable.

Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop had summoned France's ambassador to inform him of the Malian government's "indignation and disapproval" of Macron's comments.

"The minister called on the French authorities to show restraint, avoiding value judgements," the statement said, adding that Mali wanted a "constructive approach based on mutual respect".

Tensions between France and its former colony Mali have been high since it emerged that the Sahel state is in talks with Russian mercenaries.

These tensions spilled over at the UN General Assembly late last month, when Mali's interim prime minister Choguel Kokalla Maiga accused France of a "sort of abandonment in full flight" over its decision to reduce its military deployment in the semi-arid Sahel region.

On his part, Macron told media that Maiga's comments were "unacceptable" and suggested that Mali's government was "not even really one" -- referring to the coup in Mali led by Colonel Assimi Goita in May.

The war of words continued on Tuesday, when the French President called on Mali's ruling military to restore state authority in large areas of the country abandoned in the face of the jihadist insurgency.

"It's not the role of the French army to fill in for the 'non-work,' if I may describe it, of the Malian state," he told French media.