The transitional government of Mali announced that it is willing to open dialogue with all armed groups in the country, but France, which has 5,000 troops in the country, warns against any dialogue with jihadists. In August, then President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita was overthrown in a military coup after a civil war that lasted about eight years. Current interim President Bah Ndaw is to remain in his post until elections in 2022.
Nicolas Normand, a former French ambassador to Mali, said in an interview to Voice of America that this kind of dialogue runs counter to the will of the Malian people. "Actually, there is nothing to negotiate because jihadists leaders do not ask for a pardon or reintegration in the Malian society. They want to impose a totalitarian regime." Normand added that he does not think the general population is aware that its freedom is at stake. During France's military involvement in the war in Mali, in 2013, it supported separatists and only fought jihadists.
French President Emmanuel Macron announced recently that in the coming months he will decide what to do with the French forces in the Sahel region. According to the report, France is weighing the withdrawal of its forces from the region after dozens were killed and little progress was made.