Last updated: 23 March, 2013

Senior Egyptian Islamist denounces French Mali intervention

A senior Egyptian Islamist on Saturday called on France to withdraw its forces from Mali, comparing its intervention in the African state with the United States campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan.

France’s intervention in January to rout Islamist militants amounted to “colonialism,” said Rashad al-Bayoumi, the deputy leader of Egypt’s ruling Muslim Brotherhood movement.

“Never has colonialism been able to continue in any country,” he told AFP. “We hope the French reconsider their calculations, or the loss will be theirs.”

“It’s the same as what happened in Iraq, which is not far off, and the same as what happened in Afghanistan, which is not far off,” he said, adding that he also rejected extremists such as Al-Qaeda.

French President Francois Hollande promised last week that Mali’s sovereignty over most its territory would be restored within days as French troops prepared to withdraw.