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Creation of Russian Military Base in Mali Not on Current Agenda - Foreign Minister

© Sputnik / Ramil Sitdikov / Go to the mediabankSoldiers at the Russian Black Sea Fleet base in Sevastopol
Soldiers at the Russian Black Sea Fleet base in Sevastopol - Sputnik International, 1920, 15.11.2021
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MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The creation of a Russian military base in Mali is not on the agenda and the country wants to ensure security using its own military forces, Malian Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop told Sputnik.
"This topic is not on the agenda in Mali ... The primary task of the Malian authorities is to ensure that Mali can take responsibility for its security, the protection of people and property, the protection of the integrity of the national territory, the unity and sovereignty of Mali. And this is the responsibility of the authorities, the responsibility of the Malian defense and security forces, which must be able to fulfill this role," Diop explained.
The minister added that Mali’s partners can provide technical support and training but the country wants to ensure its own security.
"At some point we needed external help, we asked for it, we do not exclude it, but the issue of a [Russian] military base is not on the agenda in Mali," Diop told Sputnik.
The Malian foreign minister arrived in Moscow on Wednesday for a three-day visit. The agenda included an in-depth exchange of views on global and regional issues, with emphasis on combating terrorism in Africa.
Diop said on Thursday at a joint press conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov that Mali expected Russia to continue supplying weapons and military equipment amid the persisting terrorist threat in the African country.
Lavrov said on Friday that accusations against Russia of sending mercenaries to Mali are groundless and that Russia only provides military-technical assistance to Mali.
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