Mali demands that the UN Minusma peacekeeping mission be terminated immediately.
Mali’s foreign minister has urged the United Nations to remove its peacekeeping force from the nation “immediately.”
Minusma, according to Abdoulaye Diop, has “become a part of the problem by fueling intercommunal tensions.” He was speaking to the United Nations Security Council.
Minusma has over 13,000 soldiers. Its decade-long effort to halt the rise of extremist violence has failed.
Wagner mercenaries from Russia are now aiding Mali’s military leadership.
Western officials have accused Wagner of human rights violations in Ukraine and portions of Africa, and the United States sanctioned Ivan Maslov, Wagner’s top official in Mali, last month.
Wagner has not responded to the Western charges, and its operations in Mali and other regions of Africa remain secret.
Has Wagner Group aided in the fight against jihadists?
Minister Diop’s criticism of Minusma follows earlier Malian criticism of France’s long-standing presence in Mali. Last year, the relationship with France, the erstwhile colonial power, fell apart.
Mr Diop spoke of a “crisis of confidence between the Malian authorities and Minusma,” and stated that “the Malian government requests Minusma’s withdrawal without delay.”
Minusma’s mandate is set to expire on June 29, but UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has suggested that the mission be reformed to focus on a few key issues.
The UN currently ranks Chad, Bangladesh, and Egypt as having the largest military contingents in the force.
When asked about Mr Diop’s comments, the UN special envoy to Mali, El-Ghassim Wane, said on Friday, “we stand to be guided by whatever decision the [Security] Council may take.”
However, he noted that “operating in a specific country would be extremely challenging, if not impossible” without the host government’s permission.
According to a report by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Malian armed forces and “foreign security personnel” killed around 500 people during an operation in the village of Moura in central Mali last March. Mali’s and Russia’s governments both denounced the study.