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As France Speaks Again for Mali, Colonial Doubts, Kosovo Flip-Flop

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 25 -- Why is France, at least twice now purporting to speak for Mali? Could that be one of the problems? The answer, bien sur, is colonialism. But is what France saying even true?

  Back in early September, it was France's special envoy to the Sahel region, Jean Felix-Paganon, who grandly in Burkina Faso announced that Mali had requested help and intervention from the West Africa group ECOWAS to re-take the north, which some call Azawad.

  The UN, when Inner City Press asked, couldn't confirm the request. But Permanent Representative Bamba of Cote d'Ivoire, another former French colony, echoed it to Inner City Press.

  But nothing happened, just as the UN Security Council did nothing on Mali during France's presidency in August. (Click here for Inner City Press' review the French mission's under-performance during its month as UNSC President, including on Cote d'Ivoire and Sudan.)

 Also in August, Mali was claimed to have recognized Kosovo, a French position; then this was denied from Bamako.

  Now, French foreign minister Laurent Fabius says that Mali has really made the request, for "immediate military presence," and that France will be pushing it to another Security Council members, and other member states at a September 26 meeting at the UN.

   Even before that, France's defense minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announced his country would provide logistical support to re-conquer northern Mali. When Inner City Press asked this month's Security Council president Peter Wittig of Germany if this meant France would be working around the Security Council, Wittig didn't answer, saying instead that the Council is waiting to receive a feasible plan.

But, skeptics want to know, from whom -- ECOWAS, silent Mali, or fast-talking France?

As Inner City Press previously noted, Burkinabe president Compaore was quoted -- on France 24 -- that it is easier to talk with the rebels in the north than with Bamako. Maybe he didn't yet get le memo? Watch this site.

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