France Freezes Combined Operations as Mali Crisis Continues

Around two weeks after the 24 May 24tcoup, its leader colonel Assimi Goïta was sworn in as interim president on June 7th. Not only had Goïta served as vice president in the overthrown transitional government, the colonel was a key player in the previous 2020 coup as well. Goïta claims that the upcoming elections will not be rescheduled and that his actions were necessary to take the country in the direction desired by its people. On June 7th, the new president also appointed Choguel Maiga, an experienced politician, as prime minister.

Assimi Goïta sworn in as interim president during a 7 June ceremony (Photo by Habib Kouyate/ via Xinhua)

Last week, France threatened to withdraw troops from the country with President Macron stating that France cannot support a state “where there is no longer democratic legitimacy or transition”. On 3 June, the country temporarily suspended cooperation between French and Mali forces.

According to a statement by the French defense ministry:

“Requirements and red lines have been set by ECOWAS and the African Union to clarify the framework of Mali’s political transition. It is up to the Malian authorities to respond quickly. Pending these guarantees, France, after informing its partners and the Malian authorities, has decided to suspend – as a precautionary and temporary measure – joint military operations with the Malian forces as well as national advisory missions for their benefit.”

However, considering the recent appointment of a civilian prime minister as ECOWAS has called for as well as France’s announcement that the suspension is temporary, it is likely that France will eventually resume business as normal. After all, a French departure would only mean an increased terrorist threat to France.

Earlier this month, the United Nations Security Council decided to extend the mandate for the UN’s peacekeeping mission in Mali- MINUSA. MINUSMA published a statement on 7 June concerning a recent attack on an MINUSMA camp in the town of Aguelhok as well as radical efforts to incite the local population but emphasized its continued commitment to the local population. Thus, the UN’s concern over the Mali coup has so far not translated into more concrete action.