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French troops will leave Mali, Foreign Minister announces

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French troops will leave Mali, Foreign Minister announces

Bamako, Feb 15 (Prensa Latina) Malian authorities on Tuesday refrained from commenting on the announcement of the withdrawal of French troops from their territory, as announced by French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.
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The two countries are at loggerheads over a dispute over the role of French soldiers in the African country, and Malian Prime Minister Choguel Kokalla Maiga claimed last week that France sought the partition of Mali during its military mission in this African country.

At a meeting with diplomats accredited here, the prime minister acknowledged that the arrival in 2013 of the French military contingent stopped the offensive by Islamic groups, whose advance threatened this capital, but the assistance degenerated into what he described as “a de facto partition of the country.”

French soldiers will remain mobilized in the Sahel, but not in Mali, he said at the end of a virtual meeting with his European counterparts to discuss policy on the thorny issue of the presence of their respective troops in the area.

The decision will be discussed on Wednesday at a mini-summit of the leaders of France and the Sahelian States, of which only three have so far confirmed their participation: Nigeria, Mauritania and Chad.

jg/arm/mem/msl

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