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Denmark to pull troops out of Mali after junta demands

Denmark announced Thursday it would withdraw a newly deployed contingent of 100 troops from Mali after repeated demands, which Copenhagen denounced as a “political game” by the military junta. The Danish soldiers arrived in Mali just this month to join European special forces supporting Bamako’s anti-jihadist operations.

“The coup generals sent out a public statement reiterating that Denmark is not welcome in Mali,” Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod said.

“Of course we do not accept that. That is why we have also decided… to bring our forces home,” Kofod told a press conference after a meeting in parliament.

“We are there at the invitation of Mali. The coup generals, in a dirty political game, have withdrawn that invitation. Unfortunately, it is a game we see because they do not want a quick way back to democracy,” Kofod added.

Trine Bramsen, Denmark’s Defence Minister, told reporters the troop repatriation would “take some time”. The junta, which came to power in a coup in August 2020, first asked Denmark to withdraw the forces on Monday, following a deployment it said had been undertaken without consent.

The next day, Kofod told reporters Danish troops were in Mali “on a clear basis” following the invitation and that his government was seeking clarification.

Mali’s junta, which came to power in a 2020 coup, responded late Wednesday by repeating the demand, stating it had read Kofod’s “inappropriate” comments with “surprise and consternation”.

France condemned Mali’s expulsion of Danish troops. This junta is illegitimate and it is taking irresponsible actions,” Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said. It bears all the responsibility for the withdrawal of the Danish forces and is isolating itself even more from its international partners.

Source: eNCA

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Sis Tamara

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