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Four days after the release of Sophie Pétronin, Soumaila Cissé and the two Italian hostages, there are still many gray areas. France, in any case assures him: his role in this affair was only secondary.

“The operation was led by the Malians, the terms of the negotiations were not led by France.” This is the message conveyed by the Elysee Palace, as the conditions for Sophie Pétronin’s release raise questions.

If the external services of the two countries worked together, it was Bamako who kept control in this matter, explains the entourage of the head of state. This ensures that Paris has paid no ransom. “The list of counterparts has not been discussed with us,” adds the Elysee, referring to the jihadists released by the Malian authorities. What reaction then to these releases? “There is a price for any release”, loose an advisor, fatalistic.

The presidential palace further specifies that at no time has France intervened to favor an intermediary, contrary to what Mediapart said on Sunday. The French site explained, in the same article, that Paris would have delayed the release of Soumaïla Cissé, by demanding that he be released at the same time as Sophie Pétronin.

“False”, retorts the Elysee. If the negotiations had started before the putsch, “the terms of trade were not changed” after the coup, it is said. The only development, according to the entourage of the French president: “a notable acceleration” of the new authorities on this hostage file. The latter had, according to the Elysee “the will” to reach “a conclusion”.

Emmanuel Macron called Bah N’Daw, the president of the Malian transition, on Friday to thank him for the release of Sophie Pétronin. During this first telephone interview, the two men also discussed the operational and political aspects of the fight against terrorism. Jean-Yves Le Drian, the French foreign minister, is due to travel to Bamako by the end of October to meet the new authorities in the country.

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