Mali’s interim prime minister poured damning criticism on France at the UN on Saturday, saying they were “stabbed in the back” when the French military withdrew from the country.
Abdoulaye Idrissa Maïga said Mali felt abandoned in its fight against terrorism.
“The world will remember that, after being abandoned in mid-air on 10 June 2021 by France’s unilateral decision to withdraw the Barkhane force from Mali, my country was then stabbed in the back by the French authorities,” said Maïga.
“In view of the seriousness of the acts committed by the French junta, Mali, in its letter dated 15 August 2022, requested an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council.
“The purpose of this meeting is to allow Mali to present the evidence in its possession, demonstrating that the French army has repeatedly attacked my country.”
France intervened militarily in 2013, leading an effort to oust Islamic extremists from control of the northern Malian towns they had overtaken.
Over the past nine years, France had continued its presence in a bid to stabilise the country amid repeated attacks by insurgents.
But the PM said the fight is now in the hands of citizens.
“I would like to say that the Malian people have decided to take their destiny into their own hands. They fully support the government in rebuilding Mali and in returning to a peaceful and secure constitutional order in March 2024, following free, transparent and credible elections.”
Maïga also directly criticised U.N. Secretary-General Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. But praised the influence of Russian mercenaries and the “exemplary and fruitful cooperation between Mali and Russia.”
Russian fighter from the Wagner Group have been accused of carrying out human rights abuses.