Panafrican News Agency

Mali denounces France's 'frequent violations' of its airspace

Bamako, Mali (PANA) - The Malian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abdoulaye Diop, has sent a letter to the President of the UN Security Council denouncing the "repetitive and frequent violations" of the country's airspace by French forces and called for an emergency session of the Council to consider the complaint.

He said in the letter sent on 15 August that French forces fly drones, military helicopters and fighter planes over Mali without authorisation.

Mr. Diop said that these "serious acts are likely to undermine international peace and security".

He urged the UN Security Council to ensure that France "immediately ceases its acts of aggression against Mali" as relations between the two countries continue to deteriorate.

"In the event of persistence in this posture, which undermines the stability and security of our country, the government of Mali reserves the right to use self-defence, in accordance with Article 51 of the UN Charter," the Malian Foreign Minister warned.

He alleged that these flagrant violations have enabled France "to collect intelligence for the benefit of terrorist groups operating in the Sahel and to drop arms and ammunition to them".

Mr. Diop said throughout the process of transferring the Gao airfield and the northern airspace to "the Malian authorities, since the announcement of Barkhane's withdrawal, Malian military aircraft have been regularly hindered by delaying manoeuvres aimed at reducing their effectiveness and lengthening their reaction times".

The Malian government considers that these acts by France "constitute aggression", which is defined, according to UN General Assembly Resolution 3314 of 14 December 1974, as the use of armed force by a State against the sovereignty, territorial integrity or political independence of another State or in any other manner inconsistent with the Charter of the United Nations.

The last French soldiers of Barkhane left Mali on Monday for Niger after nine years in the country, without succeeding in curbing terrorism in Mali, a former French colony in West Africa.

-0- PANA GT/JSG/BBA/MA 18Aug2022