MIL-OSI Europe: Official speeches and statements – September 20, 2021

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Source: France-Diplomatie – Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development

Published on September 20, 2021

1. United States/Australia – Statement by M. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs (Paris, 17/09/2021)

At the request of President Macron, I have decided to immediately recall our ambassadors to the United States and Australia to Paris for consultations.

This extraordinary decision reflects the exceptional seriousness of the announcements made on 15 September by Australia and the United States.

The abandonment of the ocean-class submarine project that Australia and France had been working on since 2016 and the announcement of a new partnership with the United States aimed at studying the possibility of future cooperation on nuclear-powered submarines constitute unacceptable behaviour among allies and partners; their consequences affect the very concept we have of our alliances, our partnerships, and the importance of the Indo-Pacific for Europe./.


2. Sahel – Abu Walid al-Sahrawi taken out of action – Communiqué issued by the Armed Forces Defence Staff (Paris, 16/09/2021)

From 17 to 22 August 2021, the French forces of Operation Barkhane, in partnership with the Malian armed forces, conducted a reconnaissance and harassment operation against an Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS) group in the Malian Liptako area, south of Indelimane, in Dangarous forest.

The operation was part of a larger operational cycle aimed at stabilizing the security situation in Gourma and Liptako in the Three Borders area, in close partnership with the Malian and Nigerien forces and the G5 Sahel Joint Force, and in coordination with our European and American allies, whose commitment must again be commended. This cycle of operations aims in particular to maintain freedom of movement on the RN20 between Ménaka and Ansongo and support the deployment of the Malian and Nigerien armed forces in the region.

It was during this operation that Force Barkhane took Abu Walid al-Sahrawi, the emir of ISGS, out of action.

The operation, the result of long inter-service and inter-allied intelligence work, involved all of Force Barkhane’s air and ground components.

It was linked to a preparatory phase centred mainly on intelligence gathering and a deployment phase on the ground in Dangarous forest, a wooded area difficult to access and known to house encampments of ISGS officials and members, as well as logistics bases.

The initial intelligence phase conducted between 17 and 20 August aimed to refine the information Barkhane gathered after capturing two ISGS members near Dangarous forest a few days earlier. During this intelligence phase, an air strike made it possible to take out of action two ISGS members travelling on a motorbike.

During the ground phase, from 20 to 22 August, a commando group was engaged to reconnoitre and search the whole area. It was backed up by air assets (drone and M2000D). Air strikes were carried out on various targets clearly identified as being occupied by ISGS members.

The strikes were launched following a robust targeting process, once it had been confirmed that the intended targets were ISGS elements.

During the operation, several ISGS members were taken out of action, including Abu Walid al-Sahrawi, and several logistics bases, including many resources, were destroyed.

The Chief of Defence Staff congratulates all the military personnel who distinguished themselves in the most admirable way by carrying out this decisive action under particularly difficult conditions./.

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