COVID-19 Spike Forces French President To Cancel Mali Trip
EKO HOT BLOG reports that France President, Emmanuel Macron, postponed a trip to Mali to meet with the nation’s transitional head, Colonel Assimi Goita, on Friday after the European country announced new steps to combat the Coronavirus.
On Monday, the French president was set to meet Malian strongman Ibrahim Boubacar Keita for the first time since he was inaugurated in as president in June, following the country’s second coup in less than a year.
Macron was also scheduled to visit French troops stationed in the country to combat an Islamist insurgency.
“This decision was taken for consistency between the measures announced at national level and the president’s international agenda, and to not expose our troops” as France battles a fifth wave of the virus, the presidency said in a statement.
The presidency, however, said a Christmas meal prepared by the President’s chef would be flown over to French military personnel stationed in the Sahel country.
It added that organising the meeting with the Goita had been tricky even before the cancellation.
Macron had wished to meet Goita in the presence of Ghana’s President, Nana Akufo-Addo, and Chad’s leader, Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno, but Chad refused this format.
Chad and other neighbouring countries are also involved in the fight against the jihadists.
The planned visit was due at a tense time in relations between France and Mali.
Paris is deeply concerned over the possibility that Russian mercenaries could be deployed in the African country as France begins to draw down its troops there.
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