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Mali Threatens France Fight


FILE: A man holds a placard reading "Clear off criminal French army" as people demonstrate against French military presence in Niger on September 18, 2022 in Niamey.

Mali's foreign affairs minister on Tuesday said it fight back if France continued to allegedly undermine the West African country's sovereignty and national security.

Abdoulaye Diop, Bamako's top diplomat, told United Nations Security Council briefing on Mali in New York on Tuesday that France had violated its airspace and delivered arms to Islamist militants that have been waging an offensive in northern Mali for the past decade.

"The government of Mali reserves the right to exercise its right to self-defense," Diop asserted.

France, in return, has denied Diop's allegations.

Undeterred, Mali's foreign minister said "There needs to be a specific meeting of the Security Council which will make it possible for us to bring to light evidence regarding duplicitous acts, acts of espionage and acts of destabilization waged by France."

France was a prime component of the West African-focused "Operation Barkhane" that operated in Mali as an anti-insurgent force until Bamako booted it out.

Relations between Mali and Paris have been strained since.

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