Mali demands emergency UN meeting over French 'aggression'

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Mali's Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdoulaye Diop
Mali's Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdoulaye Diop
Photo by Russian Foreign Ministry\TASS via Getty I

Mali has requested an emergency UN Security Council meeting to stop what it calls French "acts of aggression", including alleged espionage and violations of sovereignty, and accused France of supporting jihadists.

In a letter seen Wednesday by AFP, Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop told the Chinese presidency of the Security Council that Mali "reserves the right to use self-defence" if French actions persist, in accordance with the UN Charter.

Diop condemned what he called the "repetitive and frequent violations" of Malian airspace by French forces.

He also said flights by French aircraft were engaged in "activities considered as espionage" and accused France of "intimidation".

Mali has "several pieces of evidence that these flagrant violations of Malian airspace have been used by France to collect intelligence for the benefit of terrorist groups operating in the Sahel and to drop arms and ammunition to them," Diop said in the letter.

French authorities have not responded to the accusations.

On Monday - the date of the letter - the last French soldiers departed from Mali after nine years of battling a jihadist insurgency.

The junta, which seized power in an August 2020 putsch, has turned away from France, its traditional ally and former colonial power, and towards Russia.

Mali "invites" the Security Council to ensure that France "immediately ceases its acts of aggression," Diop said.

The letter asks the Chinese presidency to communicate these details to the council's members in the hope of arranging an emergency meeting.

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