By Mimi Mefo Takambou
President, Emmanuel Macron, has in the face of pressure from the military junta in Mali announced the withdrawal of French troops from the West African country.
Speaking at a presser in Paris Thursday, prior to the European Union, EU and African Union, AU summit, Macron said despite the shift, French troops will remain on African soil.
The presidents of Senegal, Macky Sall and Ghana, Nana Akuffo-Addo also took part in the press outing. Macron said the EU and France have parallel priorities with the junta in Mali.
“We agreed we cannot remain militarily committed with authorities with whom we are not militarily connected or mercenaries. France and its partners in such conditions have decided to withdraw their forces in Mali. We will continue to give support concerning our European partners,” said Macron.
On the next move of his country, the French leader declared: “We will position forces with Nigerien forces along the Mali border,” he furthered.
Fielding questions after his declaration, President Macron wondered what would have happened if France did not intervene in Mali. He told reporters: “You probably would have seen the failure of Mali with the creation of a caliphate and the local branch of al Qaeda was able to go to Bamako, this was the context. We cannot forget what could have happened. Our intervention prevented this.
“Because the junta that is in place in Mali this is not a priority for them. But we look at Niger and Mauritania, the work that has been done with the commitment of the state, you can see stability and economic recovery. The involvement of a foreign army cannot replace the work of a sovereign army.”
On his part, Senegalese leader, Macky Sall said: “The fight against terrorism for more than a decade has become a major challenge for Africa. We do not want Africa to become the heart of international terrorism.
“We fully understand the decision of Europe and France not to continue the intervention in Mali and the two coups that have happened”.
Ghana’s, Akuffo-Addo shared the view of they “having agreed that the fight against terrorism in the Sahel is not only for African countries.”
He added that: “We have expressed our appreciation for the support of France for the soldiers who died fighting against terrorism. This is not a fight that can be carried out by Africans, it is a global flight. I would like once again to thank France for these commitments. This is a global fight because it is an international phenomenon that affects all of us”.
President Akuffo-Addo asserted that the political circumstances existing in Mali have made it necessary for France and its European allies to rethink their involvement in Mali.
“We are all united in ECOWAS and our goal is to create a future based on democracy and this is what unites us in Europe and West Africa. This is why we take measures in Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso. We cannot accept that within ECOWAS space government changes happen against our values. Our values are legitimate and free elections,” he declared at the press outing.