The French president said that “victory against terrorism is not possible without the support of the state itself.”
French President Emmanuel Macron ordered on Thursday the withdrawal of French troops from Mali, nine years after the first intervention to oust Islamist extremists from power.
France has about 4,300 troops in the Sahel region, with 2,400 of them stationed in Mali. In addition to Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso and Mauritania, the so-called Barkhane force operates in Mali.
In a press conference, Macron accused the Mali military junta of ignoring the fight against Islamist extremists and said it made sense for France to leave because its mission on the battlefield was not to replace a sovereign state.
France will begin withdrawing its troops from military bases in northern Mali, which will take four to six months, according to the French foreign minister.
As part of a coordinated announcement, European officials said on Thursday that troops from the European-led military group known as Takumba would also withdraw from Mali.