France rejects Mali allegations it sent weapons to terrorists

TEHRAN, Aug. 19 (MNA) – France has condemned what it describes as "obviously unfounded accusations" made by Malian foreign minister Abdelaye Diop, in a letter sent to the United Nations Security Council.

Diop accused France of supplying "weapons" and collecting "intelligence for the benefit of terrorist groups" operating in Mali. He also alleged France was carrying out "espionage" and "intimidation" of the Malian Armed Forces, Chinese CGTN TV reported.

In a statement released on Thursday, the French foreign ministry said France's military withdrawal from Mali was "carried out in complete transparency with the Malian armed forces."

"We condemn… the manipulation of information which must in no way divert attention from the deterioration of the security and humanitarian situation in the country where the people are the primary victims," it said.

"France will relentlessly pursue the fight against terrorism in the Sahel and West Africa."

It comes after France ended its anti-terror operations in Mali. No French service personnel have been present in the West African country since the closure of the remaining French military base on August 15.

A total of 53 French armed forces personnel have died since the start of fighting in the vast scrubland area in 2013.

KI/PR

News Code 190394

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