BAMAKO, Feb. 01 — France’s ambassador to Mali, Joel Meyer, has been ordered to leave Mali within 72 hours, a statement released by Mali’s Ministry of Territorial Administration and Decentralization said on Monday.
“The French ambassador in Bamako was summoned by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation who informed him of the government’s decision inviting him to leave the national territory within 72 hours”, specified the document.
“This measure follows the hostile and outrageous comments made recently by the French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs and the recurrence of such comments by the French authorities towards the Malian authorities, in spite of repeated protests”, said the Malian government while condemning and rejecting these remarks contrary to the development of friendly relations between nations.
The Malian government reiterated its willingness to maintain dialogue and pursue cooperation with all of its international partners, including France, in mutual respect and on the basis of the principle of non-interference, in accordance with the legitimate aspirations of the Malian people, according to the statement.
Relations have been very tense between Bamako and Paris since the announcement of the withdrawal of Operation Barkhane and the decision of the Malian authorities to join forces with the services of other partners in the fight against terrorism.
Last December, Mali had already expelled the representative of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in Bamako, Hamidou Boly, for “actions incompatible with his status”. (Xinhua)