Africa Mali revises its military agreements, signs new ones amid embargo

Mali revises its military agreements, signs new ones amid embargo

Mali’s Interim President Assimi Goita discussed major reforms undertaken within the army while speaking at its 61st anniversary Thursday in Kati, a town hosting one of the country’s largest military camps. 

“New agreements have been signed, always with the essential objective of securing Malians and their property,” said Goita, the head of the ruling junta.

The transitional authorities have also requested a review of certain military cooperation agreements, he said, without elaborating further.

Prime Minister Choguel Maiga made a similar announcement earlier this month in an interview on Malian state television, citing the need to review military cooperation agreements between Mali and France.

“We want to reread the unbalanced agreements that make us a state that cannot even fly over its territory without authorization from France,” he said.

The announcements come at a time when the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has placed member country Mali under an embargo by imposing border closures and economic sanctions.

Even the European Union has suspended its budgetary support to the Malian government and has aligned itself with ECOWAS.

These blocs blame the junta, which has been in power since August 2020, for wanting to extend the transition period by five years, even though various related agreements provide for elections in February 2022.

The transition’s leaders, in a country plagued by terrorism, have decided to take matters into their own hands without relying on certain partners, notably through these military adjustments.

Mali also refused to allow a German military transport plane to fly over its territory on its way to Niger, the German air force said Thursday on Twitter.

Maiga previously said that the country is looking for a partner and has turned to Russia, which provided 80% of its military equipment.

“We have turned to Russia, an old friend, who has reached out to us and other countries. We are in cooperative relations with the Russian state, as we are with other states,” he said.

The strengthening of the army’s operational capabilities and deep reforms to modernize the armed forces were also mentioned Thursday by Goita.

He said the impact of this new strategic orientation is already appreciable.

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