Emmanuel Macron claimed that France would withdraw its troops if Mali went ” in the sense “ of a “Radical Islamism”, in an interview with Sunday newspaper, after a second coup in nine months.
France, with around 5,100 men in Barkhane, supports Mali, which has been facing a jihadist push from the north since 2012, having plunged the country into a security crisis before spreading to the center of the country. But Paris, like the EU, on Tuesday denounced a “Unacceptable coup” after the arrest of President Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane decided by the strong man of the country, Colonel Assimi Goïta.
“To Malian President Bah N’Daw, who was very rigorous about the seal between power and jihadists, I said:” Radical Islamism in Mali with our soldiers there? No way !” Today there is this temptation in Mali. But if it goes in that direction, I would withdraw ”, warned the French president, in an interview with JDD during a trip to Rwanda and South Africa.
“I have prepared a way out”
The French head of state also claims to have “Passed the message” to the leaders of West Africa that he “Would not remain alongside a country where there is no longer democratic legitimacy or transition”. He recalls having said three years ago, “Within several Defense Councils that we had to think about the exit”.
At the G5 Sahel summit in Pau in January 2020, “I have prepared a way out. I stayed at the request of the States, because I thought the exit was a point of destabilization. But the question arises, and it is not our vocation to stay there forever ”, he repeated.
West African leaders are meeting this Sunday, May 30 to decide the thorny question of their response to the double coup putsch by the Malian military in nine months.
Regarding Chad, where a Transitional Military Council (CMT) chaired by one of Idriss Déby’s sons, Mahamat, after his brutal death in April, Emmanuel Macron believes that “Things are clear”.
He explains that when he went to Idriss Déby’s funeral, he had “A long exchange” with Mahamat Déby on the eve of the G5 Sahel. “The next morning, with the other heads of state, we went to see him to ask him for this political opening with the support of the African Union”.
Emmanuel Macron also warns against a failure of a development policy in Africa. “I say it lucidly, if we are complicit in Africa’s failure, we will be accountable but we will also pay dearly, especially in terms of migration”, he believes.
He reaffirms that it is therefore necessary “Invest heavily” at the end of the Covid-19 pandemic “With the equivalent of a Marshall plan” and that the international community must have “The generosity of saying that we are erasing part of the debt to help Africans build their future”.