France, allies announce end of military occupation of in Mali

TEHRAN, Feb. 17 (MNA) – France and its allies in a European force has announced on Thursday they will begin withdrawing troops from Mali after nearly 10 years.

A statement signed by France and its African and European allies and published on Thursday said that “multiple obstructions” by the ruling military government meant that the conditions were no longer in place to operate in Mali, Aljazeera reported.

The decision applies to both France’s Barkhane force in the Sahel and the Takuba European force that Paris had been trying to forge along with its allies.

“The political, operational, and legal conditions are no longer met to effectively continue their current military engagement in the fight against terrorism in Mali,” the statement said.

The allies, therefore “decided to commence the coordinated withdrawal of their respective military resources dedicated to these operations from Malian territory”.

The Mali deployment has been fraught with problems for France. Of the 53 soldiers killed serving in its Barkhane mission in West Africa, 48 of them died in Mali.

France initially deployed troops against rebels in Mali in 2013 but the violence was never fully quelled, and now new fears have emerged of a rebel push to the Gulf of Guinea.

Even after the pullout from Mali, however, the allies promised to remain engaged in so-called fighting “terrorism” in other countries including Niger.

RHM/PR

News Code 184006

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