United Nations: Mali has asked a private Russian military company to help it fight against terrorists, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at the United Nations on Saturday.
Mali’s one-year-old military junta is close to a deal to recruit Russian private military contractors Wagner Group, sources have told Reuters, prompting protests from France, which has said it will continue with the French presence in the West African state. was “inconsistent”. .
“They are combating terrorism, incidentally, and they have turned from Russia into a private military company in connection with the fact that, as I understand it, France wants to significantly reduce its military component that is there. was present,” Lavrov said of Mali’s junta during a press conference.
Lavrov said the Russian government had nothing to do with any deal between the private military company and Mali.
The French Defense Ministry declined to comment. Paris has begun re-shaping its 5,000-strong Barkhane mission to include more European partners and began redeploying from bases in northern Mali earlier this month.
Mali’s military junta has said it will oversee the transition to a voting democracy, leading to elections in February 2022.
Mali’s Prime Minister Choguel Maiga told the United Nations General Assembly on Saturday that his country felt left out by the French move and indicated that they were seeking other military help “to fill the gap that will certainly help the country”. Will result in the return of the Barkhana to the north.”
“The new situation resulting from the end of Operation Barkhane puts Mali in front of a certain breakthrough – leaving us, somewhat mid-flight – and it will give us the ways and means to better ensure our safety with autonomy or with other partners.” Inspires to explore.” he said.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Friday that he told Lavrov and his counterpart in Mali in New York this week that a possible deployment of the Wagner Group would be a “red line” for the EU, and that it would be urgent for our cooperation. But the result.”
EU foreign ministers discussed the issue during a closed-door meeting on the sidelines of the annual gathering of world leaders for the UN General Assembly in New York on Monday.
by Michelle Nichols. The Epoch Times contributed to this report.
This News Originally From – The Epoch Times