Following the postponement of a conference between the EU and the G5 Sahel countries due to the coup in Burkina Faso, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian welcomes his Nigerien colleague Hassoumi Massoudou to Paris. After the West African country’s transitional government announced no approval had been issued for Denmark’s military force to deploy there, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said the military junta in Mali is “illegitimate” and “takes irresponsible measures.”
At a press conference in Paris with his Niger counterpart, Hassoumi Massoudou, Le Drian said “the junta is solely responsible for the withdrawal of Danish forces and further isolates itself from its international allies.” Denmark will withdraw its small military force from northern Mali after the government in Bamako, led by coup leader Col. Assimi Goita, told the country to pull out its 90-strong contingent, which had arrived in Mali just a week before for a one-year deployment as part of a European counterterrorism operation.
Following a briefing of parliament’s foreign policy committee on Thursday, Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod announced the withdrawal. A timetable was not provided by the ministry. The 15-nation European Task Force Takuba in Mali stated on Wednesday that the Danish presence is lawful and urged Bamako to “respect the solid principles on which our diplomatic and operational collaboration is based.” Mali said the Danish deployment lacked a legitimate legal foundation and approval from the Malian government, which the statement expressed “deep regret” for.
Mali’s former president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, had requested in 2019 that Denmark send troops to help with the Takuba operation, according to the Danish Foreign Ministry. Keita was toppled in a military coup less than a year later. In Burkina Faso, Le Drian expressed his “alarm and condemnation of the overthrow of the lawful authority” after a military coup seized control of the country a few days ago and detained the democratically elected president after a day of gunfights in the West African country’s capital. “We also wish for President (Roch Marc Christian) Kabore’s and the other detainees’ bodily integrity to be protected, and we demand their immediate release,” Le Drian stated.