France Suspends Joint Military Operations With Mali After Coup

France temporarily suspended joint military operations with Mali after the West African nation’s second coup in nine months.

The decision will be reviewed based on Mali’s response to a French request for clarity on the country’s political transition, a spokesman for the French Defense Ministry said by phone. Counter-terrorism force Barkhane, which is fighting an Islamist rebellion in the Sahel region, will continue operations without the participation of Malian troops, the spokesman said.

Mali, Africa’s fourth-largest gold producer, is a key contributor to the multinational effort to contain the insurgency, which has killed more than 1,000 people this year. France, Mali’s former colonial ruler, has a 5,100-strong force deployed in the Sahel.

Mali’s western partners and regional authorities have called for a return to civilian rule after interim President Bah N’Daw and interim Prime Minister Moctar Ouane resigned last week while in military detention.

Colonel Assimi Goita, who led a coup in August that led to the resignation of former President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, is scheduled to be sworn in as interim president on June 7.

The French government will not stand by a country that no longer has any democratic legitimacy or transition plans, President Emmanuel Macron told Le Journal du Dimanche last week.

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