Home LATEST NEWS Countries involved in Mali denounce the deployment of Russian mercenaries

Countries involved in Mali denounce the deployment of Russian mercenaries

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However, the signatories do not directly threaten Bamako with a departure of foreign forces, while Paris has hitherto warned that the arrival on Malian territory of Wagner’s paramilitaries would be incompatible with the maintenance of French soldiers deployed in Mali.

This prospect has been the subject for months of growing tensions between the Malian junta in power and France. Emmanuel Macron gave up going to Bamako last Monday.

We […] strongly condemn the deployment of mercenaries on Malian territory, underline in a joint statement these countries, including France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Canada. They denounce the involvement of the government of the Russian Federation in providing material support for the deployment of the Wagner group in Mali.

According to a French government source, today we can see repeated air rotations on site with military transport planes belonging to the Russian army, installations at Bamako airport allowing the reception of a significant number of mercenaries, frequent visits by military personnel. Wagner in Bamako and the activities of Russian geologists known for their proximity to Wagner.

On Wednesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had already warned Mali against financial consequences and destabilization of the country, already plagued by violence, if the government recruited Wagner, a group known to be close to the Kremlin.

We deeply regret the decision of the Malian transitional authorities to use already limited public funds to pay foreign mercenaries instead of supporting the Malian armed forces and public services for the benefit of the Malian people., and, call on Russia to behave responsibly and constructively in the region, insists the press release also signed by a dozen European countries engaged alongside Paris in the new group of special forces Takuba, which should help the Malian army to gain strength.

This deployment can only accentuate the deterioration of the security situation in West Africa, lead to a worsening of the human rights situation in Mali., they deplore, in a thinly veiled reference to Wagner’s presence in the Central African Republic, where the company is accused of abuses and looting of mineral resources.

The European Union on Monday sanctioned the Wagner group as well as eight people and three companies linked to it for the destabilization actions carried out in several African countries, including Mali, and in Ukraine.

Western countries are also asking the Malian junta to organize elections as soon as possible to return power to civilians. The power in place is slow to present a transition timetable, to the chagrin of members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Reduction of French military personnel

The current crisis is mainly tied around the attitude of obstruction to the political transition, of which Wagner’s ongoing deployment is only a symptom, testifying to the will of the transitional authorities to remain in place. in Mali, we comment from a French government source.

However, despite the reluctance of the Malian coup regime to step down from power and the ongoing deployment of Russian mercenaries, which until then had constituted a red line for Paris, We reaffirm our determination to continue our action to protect civilians, support the fight against terrorism in the Sahel and help build long-term stability, say the 15 countries.

After nearly nine years of presence in the Sahel, France began in June to reorganize its military system by leaving its three northernmost bases in Mali (Tessalit, Kidal and Timbuktu) to refocus around Gao and Ménaka, in the borders of Niger and Burkina Faso.

This plan provides for a reduction of the French workforce in the Sahel, from 5,000 to 2,500-3,000 by 2023.

Despite military efforts, Mali is still engaged in the actions of groups affiliated with Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group, as well as the violence perpetrated by self-proclaimed self-defense militias.

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