Abdoulaye Diop

Mali: Foreign Minister explains growing tensions with France

Mali’s Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop explained the main reason for the deterioration of diplomatic relations with France.

According to the minister, tensions are growing with France because the French believe his country is not acting in their interests.

Mr Diop dismissed French concerns about Mali’s alleged use of Russian mercenaries to fight Islamist insurgents and said the two countries had been strong partners for years.

Last week, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian called the junta “illegitimate”, which is taking “irresponsible measures”.

Abdoulaye Diop said France had no right to describe last year’s coup as illegitimate as it had good relationships with other countries with military rulers.

Hundreds of French soldiers are based in Mali, as part of Operation Barkhane, advising and supporting local troops fighting Islamist militants.

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