Q : The Malian authorities officially tasked the Ministry of Religious Affairs with talking to certain jihadist groups and are now communicating openly. Is this dialogue compatible with Operation Barkhane’s fight against terrorism in that country? From your standpoint, can it be open to certain groups?
France is engaged in the Sahel alongside its European and international partners at the request of the countries of the region in a common fight against terrorist groups. The last N’Djamena summit reaffirmed the collective commitment of the G5 Sahel countries and the international community to continue the fight, on a priority basis, against the high commands of terrorist groups, specifically JNIM and IS-GS, respectively affiliated with al-Qaeda and Daesh and subject, therefore, to the sanctions regime set out in UN Security Council Resolution 1267.
A : Since the Pau and N’Djamena summits, serious blows have been struck against terrorist movements, exemplified by the neutralization of the emir of IS-GS and important officials of JNIM and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). France is determined to continue this fight alongside its Sahel and international partners. It is also working actively in support of G5 Sahel countries within the Coalition for the Sahel to provide a multifaceted response to the crisis that includes such areas as stabilization and development.