Abdoulaye Diop, Mali’s foreign minister, met with Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, in Moscow, shedding light on France’s role in the former colony. According to Sergei Lavrov, France has a “colonial mentality” toward Mali.
Lavrov told reporters that France’s “dissatisfaction with the Malian leadership’s decision to seek assistance from external security troops” is “nothing more than a resurgence of the colonial mindset.” He said that there was a “serious threat” of “anarchist enclaves” where fighters from illegal armed groups could move around freely.
“This jeopardizes the country’s territorial integrity,” Lavrov stated. “We understand but do not appreciate France’s and other EU countries’ attempts to assert dominance in Africa and other regions,” Lavrov continued. Mali’s Foreign Minister, Abdoulaye Diop, said again at a press conference with Lavrov that the country’s foreign policy has changed with some of its allies.
Every day, attempts are made to make our lives unpleasant because the only issue we have is that Malians have chosen to take control of their own destiny, to administer their nation according to their own vision. I suspect some of our partners are unaware of the changes. ” According to Diop, who spoke to reporters, in the meantime, Moscow says it is prepared to “improve the combat capabilities of the Mali armed forces,” especially in terms of soldier and law enforcement training.
Despite mounting concerns about a worldwide food crisis, Lavrov stated that Moscow would continue to supply Mali with mineral fertilizer, petroleum goods, and wheat. After once-close ties between Bamako and Paris deteriorated, France announced a troop withdrawal from Mali in February. Mali’s elected president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, was overthrown by disgruntled officers in August 2020.
Tensions reached a breaking point after the junta brought in paramilitaries from the Wagner organization, which France and others claim are mercenaries. Wagner and its mercenaries are accused of crimes in Mali, Libya, and Syria, and are said to be close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.