The decision comes after Mali's military strongman Assimi Goita, who led last year's coup, ousted the country's civilian transitional president and prime minister last week in what French leader Macron has called "an unacceptable coup d'etat."

A convoy of FAMA (Malian Armed Force) escorts the vehicle of the new President of Mali's transitional government Assimi Goita as he returns from Accra after a meeting with the ECOWAS (The Economic Community of West African States) representatives on May 31, 2021.
A convoy of FAMA (Malian Armed Force) escorts the vehicle of the new President of Mali's transitional government Assimi Goita as he returns from Accra after a meeting with the ECOWAS (The Economic Community of West African States) representatives on May 31, 2021. (AFP)

France has said that it is suspending its joint military operations with local troops in Mali as part of efforts to pressure the military junta there to restore a civilian-led government.

Mali's military arrested interim President Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane last week and pressured them to resign, derailing a transition to democratic elections after another military coup last August.

Former vice president Assimi Goita, a colonel who led the August coup and last week's revolt, was declared president on Friday.

READ MORE: African Union suspends Mali, threatens sanctions over military coup

'Red lines'

"Demands and red lines have been set by (West African regional bloc) ECOWAS and the African Union to clarify the framework for the political transition in Mali. It is up to the Malian authorities to respond quickly," France's Armed Forces Ministry said in a statement.

"Pending these guarantees, France, after informing its partners and the Malian authorities has decided to suspend, as a precaution and temporarily, joint military operations with the Malian forces, as well as national advisory missions that benefit them."

A spokesman for the Malian army declined to comment on what he termed a political matter.

ECOWAS and the African Union have suspended Mali from their organisations and threatened sanctions.

France, the former colonial power, has thousands of troops across the West African country as part of a wider counter-terrorism force targeting Islamist militants.

French forces will continue to operate in the country separately and the decision will be reassessed in the coming days, the ministry said. 

READ MORE: What prompted a 'coup within a coup' in Mali?

Source: Reuters