In a statement carried on national television on Monday, Mali gave the French ambassador 72 hours to leave the country after calling the French foreign minister’s statements regarding the country’s transitional government “hostile and outrageous.”
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Friday that Mali’s junta was “out of control” amid escalating tensions between the West African state and its European partners following two coups.
The military administration was likewise deemed illegitimate by Le Drian. On Saturday, French Defense Minister Florence Parly stated that if the price was too great, French forces would leave Mali.
“The Malian government vigorously condemns and rejects these remarks, which are contrary to the development of friendly relations between nations,” according to a statement broadcast on state television.
“The government of the Republic of Mali informs the national and international public that today … the ambassador of France in Bamako, his excellency Joel Meyer … was notified of the decision of the government asking him to leave the national territory within 72 hours.”
“France takes note of the transitional authorities’ decision to bring to an end the mission of France’s Ambassador to Mali. In reaction, France has decided to recall its ambassador,” said by the ministry.
The statement continued, “France reiterates its commitment to the stabilization and development of the Sahel alongside its partners in the Coalition for the Sahel.”
Since 2013, when France intervened to push back Islamist terrorists marching on the city, Mali has had French forces on the ground.
Since then, the Islamists have regrouped and are fighting a violent insurgency across the Sahel.
Mali’s relationship with its former colonizer worsened last month when the military administration reneged on a commitment to conduct elections in February and instead proposed staying in power until 2025.