Russia And Mali Review Military Partnership – OpEd

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has offered an increased military partnership during the latest bilateral talks with his Malian counterpart Abdoulaye Diop in Moscow. The significance of Russian support is directed at fighting terrorism, and in enhancing the combat effectiveness of the Malian army and law enforcement agencies, including the training of soldiers and police officers

The interim military government has maintained a well-developed a multifaceted nature of bilateral relations with Russia since the military ascended unto the political power. Russian leader Vladimir Putin and Mali’s Interim President Assimi Goita on the sidelines of the Russia-Africa Summit in St. Petersburg in July 2023.

At that summit Putin promised Mali free grains and free fertilizers. “Mali is grateful to Russia who keeps its word and provides assistance by sending humanitarian aid. This includes the export of Russian wheat, fertilizers and diesel fuel,” Lavrov underlined at the press conference.

Food security is an important aspect of bilateral cooperation. In particular, Russia delivered 25,000 metric tons of free grain to Mali in the past few months. In July 2023, Moscow allocated $2 mln to purchase another food shipment for Mali through United Nations institutions.

Malian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Abdoulaye Diop explained that “cooperation with Russia has contributed to ensuring security, the potential has been strengthened, and we can see results.” Diop also called for diversifying ties, in particular in the economy, as he said that a good relationship should be accompanied by a good trade and economic cooperation.

On the economic front Lavrov added: “We affirmed mutual interest in holding a meeting of our respective economic bloc agencies to consider practical steps for implementing the decisions reached during the two visits to Moscow last year by delegations of Malian experts in such areas as the implementation of projects with the participation of Russian companies in geological exploration, development of mineral reserves, transportation, infrastructure, energy, agriculture, information technology and much more.”

The Republic of Mali, home to nearly 20 million people, is a landlocked country located on rivers Senegal and Niger in West Africa. As a former French colony, it persistently faces serious development challenges primarily due to its landlocked position and it is the eighth-largest country in Africa. Over the years, reform policies have had little impact on the living standards, majority highly impoverished in the country. As a developing country, it ranks at the bottom of the United Nations Development Index (2020 report).

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