France appoints new ambassador to Mali
France appointed a new ambassador to Mali on Thursday, recalling the existing envoy after he reportedly fell out with French Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius.
The French foreign ministry announced foreign affairs advisor Gilles Huberson will replace Christian Rouyer claiming it is part of a routine reshuffle of French diplomatic posts in Africa.
Diplomatic sources in Mali say outspoken Rouyer who backed the French military intervention against Islamist rebels in the west African nation had a falling out with Fabius.
Rouyer had been in the post since 2011 and was popular with the Malian authorities and among political circles and civil society.
France has at least 4,000 soldiers in Mali.
Other news in Mali:
- A Malian soldier killed in Timbuktu’s first suicide bombing and ten Islamist fighters killed in overnight clashes
- President François Hollande vows Malian control over its territory will be restored “in a few days.”
- French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault tells parliament French troops will start to pull out of Mali from the end of April.
- French government investigates claims Al-Qaeda’s north African branch has executed French hostage Philippe Verdon.
- US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel thanks French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian for France’s “active leadership” in the military intervention in Mali.