African States Cancel Agreements With France

The military governments of Mali and Niger have each terminated treaties with France that allowed them to cooperate with the former colonial power on tax matters. The two West African countries announced the decision in a joint statement on Tuesday.

According to the statement posted on X (formerly Twitter) by Mali’s foreign ministry, the Malian government is annulling a 1972 agreement with Paris aimed at avoiding double taxation and establishing rules of reciprocal assistance in various tax matters. The revoked Niger-France convention had similar goals.

The persistent hostile attitude of France against our states… added to the unbalanced nature of these conventions, causing a considerable shortfall for Mali and Niger,” and violating the rules of international cooperation, the two nations stated.

The move is the latest in a series of actions taken by the West African countries’ military rulers to sever ties with France, which had previously been a key ally in various sectors, including security.

Mali and Niger, along with Burkina Faso, signed a charter in September to form the Alliance of Sahel States (AES) after the withdrawal of French troops from their respective countries. The agreement aims to allow the three nations to fight external and internal security threats together. The states, along with Chad and Mauritania, were previously members of the Paris-backed G5 Sahel agreement, which has since collapsed due to a series of military coups in the region.

On Tuesday, Bamako and Niamey announced that they had decided to end tax cooperation with Paris within the next three months “in order to preserve the superior interests of the Malian and Nigerien peoples.

The French government’s interference in the internal affairs of both countries makes the execution of the treaties impossible, the military rulers claimed in the statement announcing the decision.

The recent setbacks for France in its former West African colonies followed the July overthrow of Niger’s President Mohamed Bazoum, which prompted the EU to impose severe sanctions. Paris has expressed support for the West African regional bloc’s (ECOWAS) planned military intervention in Niger to restore democratic rule.

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