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On negotiations between Sergei Lavrov and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Republic of Mali, Abdoulaye Diop

On February 28, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov held talks with Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Republic of Mali Abdoulaye Diop who is in Moscow on a working visit.

The foreign ministers discussed in detail the full range of issues related to further strengthening the traditionally friendly relations between Russia and Mali that are now being elevated to a fundamentally new level. They also expressed the commitment of Moscow and Bamako to promote diverse forms of mutually beneficial cooperation under corresponding agreements signed at the meeting of Russian President Vladimir Putin with Interim President of Mali Assimi Goïta on the sidelines of the Second Russia-Africa Summit in St Petersburg in July 2023.

In this context, the ministers reviewed in detail ways of expanding the trade, economic and investment partnership, prospects for practical cooperation in energy, geological prospecting and development of mineral deposits, and construction of transport infrastructure as well as cooperation in education. The Malian minister expressed his gratitude to Russia for humanitarian supplies of Russian fertiliser, wheat and oil products.

The ministers had a confidential exchange on key international issues, including UN reform, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the situation in Yemen, and the crisis in Ukraine. They confirmed the common position of Russia and Mali of rejecting “the rules-based order” that is imposed by the collective West. Both countries are also opposed to its continued neocolonialist practices in relations with sovereign states. The ministers noted that Moscow and Bamako are in full agreement on the need to create a fairer polycentric international order in which international law and the UN Charter reign supreme. They expressed the shared determination to coordinate efforts in the UN and other multilateral forums, including the Group of Friends in Defence of the UN Charter.

Discussing African challenges, the ministers focused on the resolution of conflicts and counterterrorism in the Sahara-Sahel region and West Africa. They emphasised that the priority is to settle crises by political and diplomatic means, with Africans taking the leading role and the international community providing support.

The ministers paid special attention to the situation in Mali. Mr Diop emphasised that owing to Russia’s meaningful assistance, the Malian army significantly enhanced its capacity to defend the national unity, territorial integrity and sovereignty of Mali. They noted that one of the main goals of the recently established Alliance of Sahel States, consisting of Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, is to ensure that national security and counterterrorism challenges are met.

Mr Lavrov reaffirmed that Moscow remains steadfast in continuing to assist Bamako’s efforts to stabilise the situation in Mali, including its efforts to overcome the existing socioeconomic challenges. That said, Moscow unconditionally respects the inalienable right of Malians to determine their future themselves.

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