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Mali: Russia Vowed 'Unstinting Support' After UN Ended Mission

Africa Russia Wagner

BAMAKO — Russia has renewed its "unstinting support" for Mali after the end of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the desert state, Bamako's foreign ministry said Friday.

Moscow's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov "renewed his country's unstinting support towards Mali in the military-technical field as well as for humanitarian and economic assistance," Bamako said in a post on social media shortly after the U.N. Security Council voted to pull peacekeepers out of Mali.

With the military junta aligned with Russia, it had demanded the removal of the decade-old peacekeeping force MINUSMA.

Mali's Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop offered reassurances that Bamako "will take every useful disposition for an ordered and secured withdrawal of the Blue helmets as soon as possible."

On June 16, he had stunned the Security Council by calling the U.N. operation a "failure" and urging its immediate end.

The Security Council voted unanimously Friday to start immediately winding down the mission despite fears by Western powers of new instability in the troubled nation.

MINUSMA has a dozen bases in Mali and was set up in 2013 to help rescue a state and its population under threat from jihadist insurgency.

Diop also voiced solidarity with Russia "whose stability is essential for international peace and security," following the brief mutiny led by the Wagner mercenary force.

The junta has rallied behind Moscow and brought Wagner into Mali, insisting its employees work only as "instructors."

Mali's relations with the U.N. have plunged since a 2020 coup brought to power a military regime that also severed defense cooperation with France, the former colonial power.

Lavrov had also congratulated his Malian counterpart, the ministry said, for the "successful organization of the referendum vote" this month to reform the constitution.

In the vote, 97% of the votes were officially cast in favor of the reforms in the landlocked country, which is struggling with an 11-year-old jihadist insurgency.