Florence Parly and Jean-Yves Le Drian clearly announced their withdrawal if the new fiscal government agreed with the Wagner Group. This company, closely related to the Kremlin, is notorious for its violations.
On Tuesday, September 14, the French authorities expressed explicit concern about discussions between Bamako and the private Russian company Wagner, warning that the deployment of these paramilitary forces in Mali could lead to the withdrawal of French forces, which have been fighting jihadist groups there for eight years.
The involvement of the private Russian company Wagner will be in Mali.not suitableWhile maintaining a French power, the head of French diplomacy, Jean-Yves Le Drian, warned before the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Assembly, Tuesday.
‘Absolutely irreconcilable with our existence’
«It is absolutely irreconcilable with our existence” And “It contradicts the work of financial partners on the coast and internationally‘, and knocked, emphasizing that Wagner’s paramilitary forcesThey have shown themselves in the past and especially in Syria, in the Central African Republic, with many extortions, predation and abuses of all kinds (and) they can not correspond to any solution whatsoever».
«If the financial authorities were to enter into a contract with Wagner, it would be extremely worrying, contradictory and inconsistent.“With France moving in the Sahel, the Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly, had previously responded to the Assembly’s National Defense Committee.
According to a French source familiar with the matter, the ruling military council in Bamako is studying the possibility of concluding a contract with Wagner on the deployment of 1,000 Russian paramilitaries in Mali in exchange for funding, to train its armed forces and provide protection. of the leaders. From a security source in West Africa, mining counterparts will be discussed. These sources confirmed the information revealed by Reuters.
In response to a question by Agence France-Presse, the Ministry of Defense admitted to the Finance holding talks with the Russian sulfur company. “Mali now intends to diversify its relations in the medium term to ensure the country’s security. We didn’t sign anything with Wagner, but we chat with everyone“reaction.
A French source said that if the Wagner scenario materialized, a quick departure of French troops from Mali to neighboring Niger would be considered.
In the event of Russian interference in Mali, she is concerned, “The United States will stop everything“Immediately, deprive France of vital resources,” andSome European countries may also decide to withdraw’, while Paris struggled for two years to get them to join the Takuba Special Forces, a 500-man force dedicated to supporting Malian soldiers in the fight.
The Wagner Group, with which Moscow denies any connection, provides maintenance services for military equipment and training, but is also accused of mercenarism and is suspected of belonging to a businessman close to the Kremlin, Yevgeny Prigoni.
A really big Russian presence
Its men are already in Africa: in Libya, they are said to be allies of Field Marshal Haftar, the strongman from the east of the country. Western media reported a presence in Sudan and reportedly crossed the border into Mozambique. At the beginning of 2018, the arrival of weapons and dozens ofmilitary advisorsThe Russians in the Central African Republic have enabled Russia to make a stunning return to the African stage, accompanied by a violent campaign of anti-French disinformation.
At the end of 2019, Agence France-Presse revealed that a small team of Wagner was seen in Bamako, shortly after the conclusion of a military cooperation agreement between Mali in June 2019, headed by Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and Russia, which was involved. For a few years in an all-out witch operation in Africa.
Possible asylum to Wagner will come at a time when France, which still had about 5,000 soldiers in the Sahel in the summer, has recently begun to reduce its military hardware, while intending to continue its counter-operations. armies.
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From a source close to the executive branch, the arrival of Russian paramilitaries would mark a yellow line for France, which was already ignited by a second coup in a year in Mali, last May, and while Paris, like the Economic Community of West African States, is pushing the junta . It has struggled to maintain its commitment to organize elections in early 2022 to return civilians to power.
«We are not aware of a contract signed between Mali and Wagner” And “We did not act as a mediatorHe only commented to AFP, a Russian diplomatic source in Bamako, stressing that “Like France and other countries, we are concerned about the security of the region».
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