Mali’s interim prime minister bans French-backed NGOs amid high tension with France

Mali’s interim prime minister bans French-backed NGOs amid high tension with France

BAMAKO – Mali’s interim prime minister, Colonel Abdoulaye Maiga, has banned all French-funded NGOs, including humanitarian groups, from operating in the country, amid a worsening row between Paris and Bamako.

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This new move is a response to Paris’ decision to cut development aid to the African nation.

The West African nation’s interim prime minister, Col. Abdoulaye Maiga, justified the move in a statement shared on social media Monday, calling it a response to France’s recent suspension of development aid to Mali.

The French foreign ministry said last week it had made the decision, which came three months after it completed the withdrawal of forces from the country, over Bamako’s alleged use of paramilitaries from the Russian Wagner group.

But Mali’s government denies the allegations, citing only support from Russian military “instructors”.

Maiga spoke in his statement of “fanciful accusations” and “underflight intended to deceive and manipulate national and international public opinion with the aim of destabilizing and isolating Mali”.

“As a result, the transitional government has decided to ban, with immediate effect, all activities carried out by non-governmental organizations operating in Mali with funding or material or technical support from France, including in the humanitarian field,” it said.

Last week, a foreign ministry source said France would maintain its humanitarian aid as well as funding for “civil society organizations” in Mali

Mali’s Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop last month warned France of violating Mali’s airspace and supplying weapons to militants who have fought in the West African country for the past 10 years, charges Paris calls “slander.”

Mali reserves the right to exercise its right to self-defense “if France continues to undermine our country’s sovereignty”, says FM Diop
Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop, speaking at a UN Security Council briefing on Mali in New York, repeated accusations that Paris had violated its airspace and supplied weapons to militants who have been waging an offensive in northern Mali for the past decade.

“There must be a specific meeting of the Security Council that will allow us to produce evidence regarding double-dealing, espionage and acts of destabilization carried out by France,” Diop said.

“The government of Mali reserves the right to exercise its right of self-defense… if France continues to undermine the sovereignty of our country and to undermine its territorial integrity and its national security,” he added.

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