Mali’s junta-appointed PM bashes France & UN, praises Russia ties
Mali’s military-appointed prime minister has lashed out at the former colonial ruler France and the United Nations as he praised the “exemplary” cooperation with Russia.
Addressing the 77th session of the UN General Assembly (24 September), Abdoulaye Maiga slammed what he called “unilateral decision” by Paris to relocate the remaining French troops to neighbouring Niger amid deteriorating relations with Mali’s two-time coup leader Assimi Goita. In a grievance-filled address over his nation’s deteriorating security situation, Mali’s prime minister — somewhat curiously — referred to a “French junta” throughout his 30-minute speech, although it was Goita and his allies who overthrew a democratically elected president by military force two years ago.
Maiga also offered a grim assessment of the UN peacekeeping mission, the MINUSMA, while openly praising the “exemplary and fruitful cooperation between Mali and Russia” and the influence of mercenaries from the Wagner Group. “We must recognise that nearly 10 years after its establishment, the objectives for which MINUSMA was deployed in Mali have not been achieved,” Mali’s prime minister concluded. The French departure in August, after nine years of trying to stabilize the country amid repeated attacks by armed groups, raised new concerns about whether those fighters will regain territory with security responsibilities now falling to the Malian military and UN peacekeepers.