Doth protest too much?

Mali: Can Maïga go back on military agreements signed with France?

By Manon Laplace

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Posted on January 20, 2022 10:04

Firefox_Screenshot_2022-01-19T11-13-40.773Z Malia’s prime minister Choguel Maïga in July 2021 in Bamako © BASTIEN LOUVET / BRST/SIPA
Malia’s prime minister Choguel Maïga in July 2021 in Bamako © BASTIEN LOUVET / BRST/SIPA

Mali’s Prime Minister Choguel Maïga has strongly criticised the military treaties between Paris and Bamako, saying that Mali “cannot even fly over its territory without France’s permission”. Does he really want to amend them or is he simply tapping into anti-French sentiment?

Accustomed to making bitter remarks about France, Mali’s head of government Choguel Maïga launched a new round of attacks on 15 January. He repeated, over and over, that Paris had “prevented the Malian army from entering Kidal”, created “a terrorist enclave”, and then denounced its “abandonment in midair” in the fight against terrorism.

In a lengthy interview broadcast on ORTM – during which he mentioned military cooperation with Russia, the national conference and the transition timetable – Maïga questioned the very foundations of the military agreements that bind the two countries.

‘Unbalanced agreements’

During the interview, the prime minister stated that the main point of friction is the Malian airspace. “We want to review the unbalanced agreements that make us a state that cannot even fly over its territory without French authorisation,” he said.

Anxious not to further aggravate

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