Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at the General Assembly that Mali turned to a Russian private military company (PMC) for help to fight terrorists, official Moscow does not have this cooperation, reports RIA News…
The Foreign Minister clarified that France turned to the PMC because France intends to reduce its military contingent and must fight terrorism in the north of the country. He added that illegal groups are still running the show there.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said earlier that there are no military personnel on the territory of Mali, Russia. He also answered the question whether the possibility of military assistance to Mali was discussed during the visit of the Minister of Defense to Russia. According to Peskov, Moscow maintains contacts with countries, including the African continent. At the same time, the Kremlin spokesman again approved that “the Russian military is not there.”
Mali Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop said on September 24 that he did not consider it necessary to discuss with Russia reports on the deployment of Wagner PMCs in the country. On the eve of that day, he met with Lavrov.
The topic of the presence of PMC “Wagner” in Mali was raised at a meeting with Lavrov by French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian. Foreign Minister said that the high representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.
In the opinion of the Russian Foreign Minister, in order to talk at conversations on the topic, coordinate the efforts of Russia and the European Union in the fight against terrorism not only in Mali, but also in the entire Sahara-Sahel region.
Lavrov added that the statement in the spirit of “I’m the first here, go away” is offensive to the Malian authorities, who have invited external partners. Moreover, in such a tone, one cannot speak to anyone at all. The Russian Foreign Minister explained.
Earlier, the French Foreign Ministry promised Russia serious consequences in the event of the arrival of PMC Wagner in Mali. The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Josep Borrell, in turn, warned Mali about the consequences in the event of the authorities of an African country with PMC Wagner. The head stated that the possible involvement of a private company in the country’s affairs will have “immediate consequences” in cooperation between the EU and the transitional government of Mali.
Prime Minister Moshel Shogel Kokalla Maiga said that they were forced to look for other partners to ensure security, since France decided to end the anti-terrorist operation “Barkhan” and abandoned the African country. The politician clarified during the UN General Assembly that Paris made a decision unilaterally, without coordinating it with the Organic Mechanisms and the Bamako government. After that, the configuration remains unclear.
Maiga expressed regret that the negotiations and agreements were violated by France and the UN counterterrorism. He also agreed with the need to “fill the void” in northern Mali after the French troops left, prompted the leadership to turn to other partners, but the politician did not specify what kind of cooperation they were talking about.
Earlier in September, Reuters reported that human rights authorities had struck a deal with Russian mercenaries. According to preliminary information, it is planned to send up to a thousand Russians to Mali.