French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian warned his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov during a meeting at the United Nations yesterday about the “serious consequences” of the involvement of the Russian private military company. “Wagner” in Mali.
“Regarding Mali, the minister warned his Russian counterpart about the serious consequences of the Wagner group’s involvement in the country,” the French Foreign Ministry said in a statement following a meeting of the two officials in New York on the sidelines of the General Assembly. of the UN.
According to French sources familiar with the matter, the ruling junta in Bamako is considering concluding a contract with Wagner for the deployment of one thousand (1,000) Russian paramilitaries in the country.
France has warned that cooperating with Wagner on training Mali’s armed forces and providing protection to the country’s leaders would call into question Mali’s military commitment to Mali.
The private military company “Wagner” is considered suspicious, especially by Paris, that it acts on behalf of the Kremlin, which officially declares that it has nothing to do with this company and assures that it does not negotiate any military presence in Mali.
On September 15, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peshkov said there were no Russian troops in Mali and no formal talks were being held on their presence there. Asked if the Kremlin was aware of the talks between the Mali government and Wagner, he said he had no such information.
On September 14, Reuters reported that the French Foreign Minister criticized a possible installation in Mali of men of the “Wagner” group, describing its activity as “incompatible” with the continuation of the French military presence in this African country.
Following this statement, representatives of a number of Western and Baltic countries criticized a possible mission of Wagner men to Mali.
The Mali Ministry of Defense has admitted that it had talks with the Russian company, but states that no decision has been made.
French Defense Minister Florence Parley said in an interview published today in the newspaper Le Monde that she had discussed the matter with the Minister of Defense of the caretaker government of Mali, and warned him of “international isolation of the country” if the Mali government concludes cooperation agreement with Russian mercenaries.
Also today, the defense ministers of 13 European countries warned from Stockholm that a possible involvement of the Russian private military company “Wagner” in Mali would be unacceptable, without, however, officially threatening to withdraw their troops.