May 22, 2022

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Security agreements on the cross-chairs of the military junta

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Amid rising tensions between Paris and Bamako, Mali’s interim authorities have called for amending security agreements linking the two countries. What is this deal that manages the French military presence in Mali? Descriptions.

The Mali On Sunday, January 16, Mali’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Abdulla Diob, announced to France 24 that he would formally ask France to amend the security agreements connecting the two countries.

The call, made at the end of December, has not yet provoked an official reaction on the part of the French, and is part of an escalating military and political tensions between Bamako and Paris.

In fact, for several days, the Flight over Mali The entry or departure of a military aircraft into its airspace (coming or going from the West African states) is being questioned by the Malian government, especially the Minusma and French aircraft. On Monday, the UN Security Council convened in Mali. Regular flights have been “temporarily suspended” and the results of discussions with Malian authorities on new procedures are pending.

What are the security agreements between France and Mali and why are they being questioned now? France plays 24 role.

Urgent agreement to facilitate French intervention

Security agreements were signed between France and Mali on January 11, 2013, following the eruption of the French military operation Sarval. As terrorist groups descended on the capital Bamako from the north, the Malian government appealed to France, which urgently dispatched 4,000 people. Players.

The security partnership between France and Mali has been limited until now Technical Cooperation Agreement, signed in 1985, Which provided the opportunity to send French soldiers for training missions or operations under the command of the Malian army.

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The new defense agreement, signed in March 2013, exchanges letters granting legal status to French forces to facilitate their intervention on Mali soil.

Implementing “sustainable security”

The Emergency Agreement, 2013, was ratified on July 16, 2014 in Bamako, during a visit by French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian to President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta. Based on the model of agreements already concluded between Mali and its many African partners (Cameroon, Togo, the Central African Republic, Gabon and Senegal), this agreement aims to establish enhanced security cooperation in the long run.

He plans. “Contributes to lasting peace and security (…), especially through the protection of border areas and the fight against terrorism. “

The contract, which was scheduled for a period of five years, was indirectly renewed. However, as stated today by the Malian government, it is stated that “the parties may, at any time and by mutual agreement, amend this Agreement in writing.”

>> Read more: “In Mali, ‘France pays the price for its ambiguity'”

“Unbalanced” contracts?

In one The interview aired on Sunday, January 16th On Mali television, Prime Minister Soguel Gogolla Micah openly criticized the deal: “We want to re-read the unbalanced agreements that make us a state that can not even fly over its borders without France’s agreement.”

For months, Malian authorities have accused Paris of interfering in the affairs of the country, while there are tens of thousands of Malians in Bamako. Friday responded to a call by the military junta to condemn the severe sanctions imposed by the West African Economic Community (ECOWAS)..

For its part, the French military maintains that there are agreements to regulate air traffic and that their purpose is to avoid air collisions between military aircraft. Mali assured French public servants on Monday that “there is no restriction on air operations in the region.”

This new resurgence of tensions between Bamako and Paris comes at a time when the country is in a particular context. Closed its borders In response to the embargo imposed on January 9 by ECOWAS. Mali accuses France, which supports the move, of influencing the decision.

On January 12, Bamaka Condemned the “encroachment” of its airspace A French military plane has been linked to Abidjan and Bamako, accusing it of “fraudulent maneuvering”. The French military, for its part, confirmed that it had not received any information about possible air restrictions and that the two countries had secured security agreements.