Le Monde published an article about the delicate situation involving French President Emmanuel Macron. According to the newspaper sources, he phoned Russian President Vladimir Putin to make an odd statement that “Paris is not leaving the Sahel.”
However, Macron, in the first place, previously spoke about the withdrawal of military forces from Mali in connection with the closure of Opération Barkhane. Secondly, as soon as information about the presence of about 1,000 Russian instructors in Mali leaked to the press the embattled Macron began to express himself in a completely different manner.
“Suddenly the leadership of Mali came to the forefront expressing the wish to work specifically with Wagner Group. All the more so since the Malian leaders got the Russian military education. After that, France suddenly remembered that it was the military junta, not the people that came to power through a coup in Mali. Nevertheless, free Paris and Berlin snowed the junta under with humiliating requests not to let Wagner Group into Mali and not to sign contracts with it. Otherwise, chances are France and Germany will have to leave,” Le Monde wrote ironically.
Le Monde recalled how the people of Mali, tired of instability and attacks by armed Islamic radical groups fostered by the West, called on Russia to help. The Russian instructors gave a good account of themselves in the CAR, where the French military had been unable to restore order for decades.
“In Bamako, Colonel Sadio Camara, a Malian military officer currently serving as Minister of Defence, who was on secondment in Russia back in August, recalled that ‘public opinion favours greater cooperation with Russia, given the security problems’,” Le Monde wrote, citing inoSMI.
Le Monde notes that the situation is favourable for Moscow in terms of building a partnership with Bamako as the two countries have been long bound together by mutually beneficial cooperation. Unlike the former colonial powers, Russia does not act high and mighty towards African partners and does not impose political decisions.
“Russia may seem a suitable partner for Malian leaders because it only offers good relations, without making political requests to this country, unlike Western countries.”
Earlier, spokesman for the EU Foreign Affairs Peter Stano said that it was up to the Malian authorities to decide whether to bring in mercenaries from Russia.
“We have taken note of the information about the possible use of the Wagner Group forces in Mali. In fact, this decision must be taken by the Malian leadership,” said Stano.
Thus, the European Union has admitted that it is not against the presence of such a force in an African state.