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France will pull troops out if Mali slides into ‘radical islamism’ – POLITICO

France will withdraw its troops from Mali if the African country, which recently saw its second military coup in nine months, veers toward radical Islamism, President Emmanuel Macron told the Le Journal du Dimanche (JDD) newspaper Sunday.

“Radical Islamism in Mali with our soldiers there? Never,” Macron told JDD. “There is this temptation today in Mali. But if it goes in that direction, I will withdraw.”

France has 5,000 troops deployed in Mali, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mauritania and Niger — all former French colonies — under the “Barkhane” operation which was launched in 2014 to counter jihadist groups.

Earlier this week, France and the EU condemned an “unacceptable coup” after Mali’s interim President Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane were detained at a base outside the capital of Bamako. The two leaders were in charge of overseeing a return to democratic elections after a coup in August.

Islamist groups linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State control large parts of Mali’s north and centre, carrying out attacks against the army and civilians.

On Sunday, Macron told JDD he had sent a message to the Malian authorities that he would “not remain alongside a country where there is neither democratic legitimacy nor transition.”

Macron also warned that Europe “will pay dearly in terms of migration” if Africa’s development fails. The French president spoke to the paper during a three-day trip to Africa this week that took him to Rwanda and South Africa.

Credit: EuroNews



Due Credit: Efogator.com

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