Mali's government demands the French president "understand that no one can love Mali better than Malians" after Macron urged Bamako to build a framework that allows an effective fight against terrorists.
Mali's army-led government has urged French President Emmanuel Macron to abandon his "neocolonial and patronising" attitude as relations break down further between Paris and Bamako.
"The transitional government demands President Macron permanently abandon his neocolonial, paternalistic and patronising posture to understand that no one can love Mali better than Malians," spokesman Colonel Abdoulaye Maiga said on public television on Sunday.
Maiga was responding on behalf of the junta after Macron's remarks during a three-day visit to Benin, Cameroon and Guinea-Bissau last week.
Referring to the current situation in Mali, Macron said West African nations had the responsibility to work to ensure the Malian people can "express the sovereignty of the people" and "build a framework of stability" to allow the "effective fight against terrorist groups".
Macron also referred to a suspected deal between the Mali and Russian private security firm Wagner that was a crucial factor pushing Paris to withdraw its 2,400 troops.
France's involvement in Mali
Bamako denies any deployment by the controversial Wagner group.
During his visit to Benin on Wednesday, Macron branded Russia "one of the last imperial colonial powers" for its attacks on Ukraine.
France is reconfiguring its posture in the Sahel after falling out with the military junta in Mali, the epicentre of a bloody 10-year-old militant campaign in the region.
Mali has since 2012 been rocked by an insurgency by groups linked to Al Qaeda and Daesh.
France first intervened in Mali in 2013 by claiming that it was combating a militant insurgency that emerged one year prior but earlier this year, Paris said it would withdraw its forces.
Mali underwent coups in August 2020 and May 2021, creating a political crisis that coincides with an ongoing security crisis.
Violence that began in the north has spread to the centre and neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger.