France at Odds with Mali Plan to Dialogue with Jihadists, voanews.com

The eight-year Islamist insurgency in the West African nation of Mali shows no sign of ending and after an August coup toppled President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. The country’s transitional government has indicated it is willing to open dialogue with all armed groups. France, which has more than 5,000 troops in the country, has warned against any discussions with jihadists.

“With terrorists, we do not discuss. We fight.” The statement made recently by French President Emmanuel Macron in an interview is — to some analysts —  a clear rebuke of the strategy initiated by transitional Malian authorities who are willing to open discussions with jihadists. […]

Nicolas Normand says Macron’s remarks show a growing gap between the Malian population and the former colonial power.

“In 2013, when the French army intervened in Mali to combat the armed groups, they supported the separatists and fought only the jihadists,” he said. “After eight years, there is no real improvement in the security situation despite many jihadists killed. Eight years is too long for the former colonial power’s army to stay in the country. The population  does not understand.” […]

With more than 50 French troops killed and little progress to report since the deployment, observers say France is considering pulling back its forces and encouraging other European nations to commit more forces to the region. Läs artikel