France's armed forces minister said that Paris decided to resume joint military operations with Mali as well as national advisory missions, which had been suspended since June 3.

French Barkhane force soldiers who wrapped up a four-month tour of duty in the Sahel leave their base in Gao, Mali Wednesday June 9, 2021.
French Barkhane force soldiers who wrapped up a four-month tour of duty in the Sahel leave their base in Gao, Mali Wednesday June 9, 2021. (AP)

France has announced that it will resume joint military operations in Mali, after suspending them early last month following the West African country's second coup in less than a year.

Following consultations with the Malian transitional authorities and the countries of the region France has "decided to resume joint military operations as well as national advisory missions, which had been suspended since June 3,” the armed forces minister said in a statement on Friday.

Last month's decision to suspend the joint operations came after Mali's military strongman Assimi Goita, who led last year's coup, ousted the country's civilian transitional president and prime minister.

READ MORE: France sends message to Mali’s coup leaders by suspending military ties

That move sparked a diplomatic uproar, prompting the United States to suspend security assistance for Malian security forces and for the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to suspend Mali.

Both Mali and France play key roles in the fight against a bloody militant insurgency plaguing the Sahel region.

France has around 5,100 troops in the Sahel under its Barkhane operation which spans five countries – Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger.

On June 10, French President Emmanuel Macron announced a major drawdown of France's military presence in the Sahel where forces have been battling militants for nearly a decade.

READ MORE: What does French withdrawal from the Sahel mean?

Takuba international task force

Macron said the existing Barkhane operation would end, with France's presence becoming part of the so-called Takuba international task force in which "hundreds" of French soldiers would form the backbone.

That Takuba force currently numbers about 600 troops, half of whom are French.

The Czech Republic, Estonia, Italy, Romania, and Sweden have also pledged to participate.

"France remains fully engaged, with its European and American allies, alongside the Sahel countries and international missions" to fight the militant groups which are rife in the Sahel, the armed forces ministry said in its statement on Friday.

READ MORE: Six troops killed, 15 UN peacekeepers wounded in separate Mali attacks

Source: AFP