French military bases in Mali to close for 6 months, says Macron

France will conduct closures of its military bases in Mali for an expected period of four to six months, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday.

Earlier in the day, Paris said that Canada, France, and its allies in the European mission Takuba decided to begin coordinated withdrawal of troops from Mali due to disagreements.

The withdrawal agreements are due with the African nation’s transitional authorities, who seized power in a coup.

“We have started closing military bases in the north, so we will gradually close the bases that we have in Mali during the exercises which will take from four to six months,’’ Macron said at a press conference.

France will continue to ensure the security of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), the UN mission on the ground over the period in question.

He noted that recalling the European forces would be deployed to Niger after the withdrawal from Mali.

France launched the counterterrorism mission Barkhane in 2014 in the Sahel region.

The mission involved forces of the G5 Sahel countries, including Niger, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, and Mauritania.

In summer 2021, Macron said that Operation Barkhane would be transformed into an international counterterrorist alliance.

France began reducing its presence in Mali in December 2021 after the May coup. (Sputnik/NAN)

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