Ivory Coast says it will withdraw from the UN’s peacekeeping operations in troubled Mali, a move coinciding with Britain’s announcement that it will quit the mission.
A letter to the MINUSMA mission seen by AFP Tuesday said that Ivorian troops would withdraw by August 2023.
It gave no explanation for the pullout, but Ivory Coast and Mali’s junta are locked in a months-long dispute over the detention of Ivorian troops at Bamako airport.
“By order of the government of Ivory Coast, the permanent mission confirms the progressive withdrawal of Ivorian military personnel and police deployed with MINUSMA,” says the letter sent to the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali.
Rotations of Ivorian forces scheduled in October and November this year will no longer take place, the letter adds.
The rotations were to apply to a protection unit based in Mopti, to police and to military officers assigned to headquarters duties.
Troops and other personnel deployed in MINUSMA will not be relieved next August as scheduled, it added.
In response the United Nations said it was in contact with Ivory Coast “regarding their participation in MINUSMA”.
“We remain grateful to Cote d’Ivoire for the service and contributions of all Ivorian personnel in Mali and for their continued support to UN peace operations,” the UN secretariat said in a statement.