Mali accuses France of arming terrorists, seeks emergency UN meeting

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Mali accuses France of arming terrorists, seeks emergency UN meeting

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)

A protester holds a placard reading “France, gardener of terrorism” during a demonstration to mark France’s announcement of a withdrawal of French troops from Mali, in Bamako, on February 19, 2022. (Photo by AFP)

Mali has requested an emergency UN Security Council meeting as the country has accused France of violating its airspace and delivering weapons to armed groups, an attempt considered to destabilize the West African country.

In a letter to the head of the United Nations Security Council on Monday, Mali’s foreign minister, Abdoulaye Diop, said its airspace has been breached more than 50 times this year, mostly by French forces using drones, military helicopters, and fighter jets.

Malian authorities have “several pieces of evidence that these flagrant violations of Malian airspace were used by France to collect intelligence for terrorist groups operating in the Sahel and to drop arms and ammunition to them,” the letter said.

Diop called for an emergency meeting of the Security Council in his letter in order to ensure that France “immediately ceases its acts of aggression,” in the form of the alleged violations of its sovereignty, support for terrorist groups, and spying.

“In the event of the persistence of this posture which undermines the stability and security of our country, Mali reserves the right to use self defense,” he said.

“France has obviously never supported, directly or indirectly, these terrorist groups, which remain its designated enemies across the planet,” said the French Embassy in Mali in a Twitter thread.

The Malian army says that after an attack on Tessit camp one week ago that claimed the lives of 42 Malian soldiers, “clandestine and uncoordinated overflight operations” were conducted.

The letter is the latest in a barrage of accusations that have strained the relationship between the West African country and its former colonizer. On Monday, France allegedly completed the withdrawal of its forces from Mali, ending a nine-year operation in the country.

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