Russia and China are blocking UN support for sanctions on Mali

United Nations (AP) — Russia and China blocked on Tuesday that the UN Security Council upheld new sanctions on Mali for military leaders’ decision to postpone elections next month until 2026.

Kenya’s UN ambassador, Martin Kimani, said the council said he was “relatively calm” after a private discussion on a proposed French draft statement in support of the sanctions imposed by the West African Regional Group ECOWAS. “Press statement.

Kimani said three African members (Kenya, Ghana and Gabon) would speak to reporters to fully support the position of the regional block as the Security Council did not support ECOWAS’s actions. Said it became. Ensure a quick transition to constitutional rules. “

Mali has been struggling to contain the Islamic extremist rebellion since 2012. Radical rebels were deprived of power in cities north of Mali with the help of French-led military operations, but reorganized in the desert and launched attacks on the Mali army and its allies. .. Attacks on civilians and UN peacekeepers exacerbated anxiety.

In August 2020, Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar capsized in a coup that included Colonel Asimi Goita. In June last year, Mr. Gota became president of the caretaker government after conducting a coup d’etat for the first time in nine months. The junta initially agreed to hold a new election in late February, but military leaders are now in a presidential election to give Goita more four years of power as the country as a whole becomes more uncertain. States that it will not take place until 2026.

ECOWAS leaders responded Sunday, calling Goita’s delayed schedule “totally unacceptable” and “this is simply that the illegal military transitional government will take the Mali people hostage over the next five years. Means. “

They impose new sanctions, suspend most commercial and financial assistance to Mali, close the land-air border with other members of the ECOWAS, rejuvenate Block’s stand-by forces, and “just in case. We have to be prepared for the situation. “

Members of the United States, United Kingdom, France and other Security Councils have joined Africans to support the actions of the ECOWAS.

Britain’s Deputy Ambassador to Bamako said he was “extremely disappointed” with Mali’s decision to postpone the election, despite the guarantees given to members of the council during his visit to Bamako last October. rice field. .. “

US Ambassador to the United States Linda Thomas-Greenfield accused Mali’s interim government of “a blatant lack of political will to move forward toward organizing elections,” and the five-year transition was “national distress.” To expand. “

The three countries also strongly criticized the existence of the Wagner Group, a Russian private military company, in Mali.

French ambassador Nicholas de Riviere reiterates his country’s criticism of deploying mercenaries from the Wagner Group, “known for threatening civilians, plundering resources and violating international law and national sovereignty.” rice field. He regrets that Mali’s interim authorities are “already using limited public funds to pay foreign mercenaries instead of supporting the armed forces and public services for the benefit of the Mali people.” thought.

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergeĭ Viklov said he had “legitimate” rights to West African countries because he was invited by the interim government, claiming that the Kremlin was not involved.

Issa Konfourou, UN Ambassador to Mali, told the Security Council that there are no mercenaries in Mali’s soil. He said a Russian trainer was in Mali, advising and training the military on the use of military equipment acquired from Russia by the government.

“The hysteria surrounding Russian companies is another manifestation of the double standard, as it is clear that the market for such services is dominated by Western countries,” said Russian Ambassador Vasily Nevensia. ..

Konfourou said the government was “shocked” by ECOWAS’s economic and fiscal sanctions and “strongly condemned these illegal and illegal measures.” He urged ECOWAS to “reconsider the interpretation of Mali’s situation,” and he remains open to dialogue with the regional block, ensuring a swift restoration of Mali’s constitutional order, which is safe and secure. I repeated my efforts to spare no effort. “

Diplomats said Russia considered the proposed council statement to be imbalanced and Nevensia was sympathetic to the government.

“We understand and recognize the difficulties facing Mali authorities in preparing for the general election,” the Russian ambassador said. “I agree with the fact that government control is not regained in many parts of the country. It would be difficult to justify a vote.”