EU, OIF Take Steps Against Mali’s Military Junta

The International Organisation of La Francophonie (OIF) has suspended Mali from its membership.

The body is the latest to take action following last week’s overthrow of Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta’s government by the military.

Officials say the European Union (EU) has also suspended its training missions in Mali after the military coup that removed President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita from power this month.

The decision by the OIF, a body representing countries where people speak French, comes days after the regional bloc, the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) – which also suspended Mali from its membership – held unsuccessful talks with the military junta over a return to democratic rule.

The coup leaders have said they are not interested in holding power and will hold fresh elections within “reasonable time”.

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A demand by African heads of state to reinstate former President Keïta is now off the table after he withdrew interest to return as leader.

The OIF has said it will send its own delegation to Mali in a matter of days.

The European Union has said its training missions for Mali’s army and police as part of international efforts to stabilise Mali and extend the state’s authority are now temporarily suspended because they exist to support “legitimate national authorities” only.

West African mediators and Mali’s coup leaders are discussing the possibility of a transitional government, which could see the EU resume training in partnership with the United Nations.

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The coup has raised the prospects of further political turmoil in Mali which, like other countries in the region, is facing an expanding threat from insurgence.

EU defence ministers will meet in Berlin on Wednesday to discuss the situation in Mali, officials say.

Drawn up in late 2012 to help Mali’s army regain control of the country after France drove out insurgents in the north, the EU military mission (EUTM Mali) has more than 600 soldiers from 28 European countries including EU and non-member states.

Its headquarters in Mali’s capital Bamako was targeted by militants in 2016, although no personnel were hurt.

The EU agreed in 2014 an additional civilian mission (EUCAP Sahel Mali), sending experts to give advice and training to the internal security forces in Mali, the police, Gendarmerie and National Guard.

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EU training will continue in neighbouring Niger and Burkina Faso, officials say.

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