Mali Will ‘Not Stand Idly By’ If Foreign Govt’s Intervene In Niger – Diplomat

Mali “will not stand idly by” if international governments intervene in neighboring Niger, Bamako’s top diplomat warned the UN on Saturday, after the juntas of both nations signed a mutual defense treaty.

Niger’s president, Mohamed Bazoum, was detained at home with his family by rebel elite forces on July 26.

If diplomatic pressure to reinstate the democratically elected Bazoum fails, the West African regional body ECOWAS has threatened the coup leaders with military action.

A week ago, the military commanders of Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso — all of which came to power in coups since 2020 — inked a defense treaty that calls for mutual aid in the event of an assault.

“Mali remains strongly opposed to any military intervention by ECOWAS,” said Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop, representing the Malian junta at the UN General Assembly.

“Any invasion of this country constitutes a direct threat to the peace and security of Mali, but also to the peace and security of the region, and will necessarily have serious consequences. We will not stand idly by,” he said.

The Mali junta has prioritized autonomy over cooperation with France and its partners in combating jihadism, and has shifted militarily and politically toward Russia.

At the UN General Assembly, Diop reiterated his condemnation of Paris and its “neo-colonial domination,” while also making “special mention” of Russia’s “active solidarity and reliable commitment both bilaterally and multilaterally.”

Bamako has also pushed out the UN peacekeeping mission MINUSMA, which is scheduled to leave by the end of the year.

“The government of the Republic of Mali has no intention of extending this deadline,” the minister said.

Instability in the Sahel has increased worldwide concern over the poor region, which is grappling with jihadist insurgencies linked to Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State organization.

Mali has been dealing with the spread of jihadism as well as a security, humanitarian, and political crisis since 2012.

Hostilities have returned in the country’s north, coinciding with MINUSMA’s ongoing exit.

“The government reassures the Malian people and the international community that all measures have been taken to ensure the continuity of state services after the departure of the MINUSMA,” Diop said.

“The government of the Republic of Mali is more determined than ever to exercise its sovereignty and assert its authority throughout the national territory.”

Written by PH

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