Why tensions with Mali could soon lead to France withdrawing its troops


On Monday January 31st the military-civilian junta running Mali told France's ambassador to leave the country in a further escalation of the tension that has developed between the two nations in recent months. As Rémi Carayol observes, the next stage in the bitter war of words could be an announcement from Paris that France's military forces in the African country will be withdrawn.

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If it is not yet a full rift, it is getting close to one. On Monday January 31st the ruling junta in Mali gave the French ambassador Joël Meyer, 72 hours to “leave the country”. This was a radical and extremely rare act in a part of Africa that the former colonial power France still considers to be its home turf. The authorities in the Malian capital Bamako said the move followed the “hostile and outrageous comments” made by France's foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.