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France takes U-turn, to resume military cooperation with Malian army

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A previous suspension and now a lifting: France, which has more than 5,000 troops deployed in the Sahel, will resume joint operations with the Malian armed forces, its Ministry of Defence announced on Friday in Paris.

It comes after suspending bilateral cooperation following a second coup in Mali in May. The announcement was made in the form of a communiqué. "Following consultations with the Malian transitional authorities and the countries of the region, France takes note of the commitments of the Malian transitional authorities" endorsed by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and has "decided to resume joint military operations as well as national advisory missions, which had been suspended since 3 June," Paris said.

Resumption of operations with the Malian army

After a second coup in nine months that made Colonel Assimi Goïta the head of this state crucial for stability in the Sahel, France had declared a month ago to suspend joint operations with the Malian forces, with which it has cooperated for years against jihadists.

In order to counter extremists in the Sahel area, French military have been supporting soldiers from Mali, Chad, Mauritania, Niger and Burkina Faso through its over 5,000 troops prtesent in the region.

The Barkhane force, which was launched after France intervened to fend off a jihadist advance in Mali in 2013, will now continue to operate

On 25 May, Colonel Assimi Goïta orchestrated the ouster of president Bah Ndaw and prime minister Moctar Ouane, raising doubts about his commitment to holding the elections.