Tensions between France and Mali: Bamako puts an end to the activities of NGOs supported by the French government

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Mali’s transitional government announced Monday evening that it had decided to ban, with immediate effect, activities carried out by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) operating in Malian territory with funding or material and technical support from France.

The decision taken by the head of the Malian government also concerns NGOs operating in the humanitarian field.

In a communiqué issued by the Malian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Colonel Abdoulaye Maïga, the interim Prime Minister, justified this decision by the recent announcement by France to suspend its official development assistance to Mali.

The ban is decided “with immediate effect, and concerns all activities carried out by NGOs operating in Mali with funding or with material or technical support from France, including in the humanitarian field,” the statement said.

The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs had cited the use of the Russian paramilitary group Wagner by the Malian authorities to justify the suspension of its official development assistance.

The military in power have denied having called on this company, whose actions have been criticized in several countries.

However, Bamako speaks of Russian army instructors deployed in the name of a former collaboration between the two countries.

Colonel Abdoulaye Maïga denounced in his communiqué “fanciful allegations” and a “subterfuge intended to deceive and manipulate national and international public opinion for the purposes of destabilization and isolation of Mali.

A non-event

France has declared that it wants to deprive Mali of official development assistance by invoking a “fallacious motive”, the Malian Prime Minister maintains.

According to Bamako, the French authorities took this measure in protest against “military cooperation” between Mali and Russia. Paris also spoke of “risks of detour of this aid”, according to the Malian authorities.

In addition to banning the activities of French-funded NGOs, the Malian junta says it has taken note of France’s November 16, 2022 announcement of several measures.

One of these measures is for the French government to provide funds directly to NGOs for French humanitarian action in Mali.

The interim Prime Minister of Mali denounced “fanciful and totally unfounded allegations” on this subject.

He said he considered the announcement of these measures as a non-event.

“This statement is a subterfuge designed to deceive and manipulate national and international public opinion in order to destabilize and isolate Mali,” he said.

Since February 2022, France has notified Mali, through diplomatic channels, of the suspension of its development cooperation.

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