A diplomatic row is deepening between Mali, France and the European Union.
The rift centres around the annoucement by the transitional Malian authorities of a possible deal with a group of russian private military contractors in order to improve security in the country.
Political analyst Aly Tounkara explains.
"The Malian transitional authorities have understood that France is not the only problem when it comes to reorienting the supply and demand of security. The military in particular think that with a Russian private company, whatever the nationality, the private company would certainly evolve under the orders of the Malian authorities, it would evolve in sync with the Malian government. This is not the case today with France and the United Nations in Mali. In other words, the Malian authorities are firmly convinced that in order to restore their image they are obliged to engage external actors".
This experts believes that resorting to external actors is an established practice.
"When we look at the recent history of the United States in Afghanistan and Iraq, and even at France before the creation of the Foreign Legion, naturally all the powers rely or have relied on non-national actors in order to establish security. I think that this solution in the Malian context appears to be judicious but let's remember that either with the United Nations or the Barkhane force, these two actors are playing a remarkable role in the Sahel, but it is difficult to ignore that violent radical groups continue to spread over towns that were unfortunately supposed to be secure or not under threat. Clearly, these different French, UN and even Malian and Sahelian military interventions through the G5 Sahel force have not succeeded in establishing a lasting peace, and it is increasingly clear that peace is clearly what the population wants..." claims political analyst Aly Tounkara.
The row follows France's unilateral decision earlier this year to restructure operations in the country.