Mali’s Foreign Minister Diop Says His Country Not At War With United Nations
Mali’s Foreign Minister on Tuesday said his country was not at war with the United Nations as relations with the country’s military junta strained in recent weeks, reported The TRT World.
Olivier Salgado, the spokesman for the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali (MINUSMA) has been expelled for publishing information, what the authorities deemed unacceptable, on Twitter following the arrest of 49 Ivorian soldiers in Bamako earlier this month.
Salgado claimed in the tweet that Malian authorities were previously informed of the arrival of 49 Ivorian soldiers to Mali on July 10.
Mali described the Ivorian forces as “mercenaries” with an intention of toppling the country’s military-led government. While, Ivory Coast claims its troops were providing routine back-up to the Ivorian contingent in the MINUSMA peacekeeping operation, and is demanding their release.
Mali’s Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop’s comments came after a meeting with UN under-secretary-general for peace operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix, who was visiting the Malian capital to discuss a one-year extension of MINUSMA operations, recently approved by the Security Council.
“Mali is not at war with the United Nations, contrary to what others have tried to say,” Diop said. “Even in a family there are difficulties, there are problems, but you overcome them.”
The Malian authorities have suspended all MINUSMA rotations for national security reasons, saying a meeting between both parties must take place to facilitate their coordination and regulation.
MINUSMA has over 12,000 troops deployed in Mali.
The spat takes place against a backdrop of problems in Mali, one of Africa’s poorest and most unstable countries. Mali is struggling with a long-running jihadist insurgency that has claimed thousands of lives and forced hundreds of thousands from their homes.
The country is also in the grip of a political turmoil after the military seized power in August 2020. Mali’s government witnessed two recent military coups, one in August 2020 and the other in May 2021.