France commune

Statement on the deployment of the Wagner Group in Mali (Dec. 23, 2021)

We, the international partners committed to supporting Mali and its people in their efforts to achieve lasting peace and stability and to fight terrorism, strongly condemn the deployment of mercenary troops on Malian territory. This deployment can only further deteriorate the security situation in West Africa, lead to a worsening of the human rights situation in Mali, threaten the Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in Mali resulting from the Algiers process. and hinder the efforts of the international community to ensure the protection of civilians and to provide support to the Malian armed forces.

We deeply regret the choice of the Malian transitional authorities to use already scarce public funds to pay foreign mercenaries instead of supporting the Malian armed forces and public services for the benefit of the Malian people.

We are aware of the involvement of the Government of the Russian Federation in material support for the deployment of the Wagner Group in Mali and call on Russia to return to responsible and constructive behavior in the region.

We recall the decisions of ECOWAS and their concern about the risk of instability for the region in the event of the deployment of private security companies in Mali, (sixtieth ordinary session in Abuja, December 12, 2021). We also recall the adoption by the European Union of a set of restrictive measures against the Wagner group itself, and against eight associated persons and three entities linked to it (Foreign Affairs Council of 13 December 2021) involved in serious human rights violations, including torture. and extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions and killings, or in destabilizing activities in some of the countries where they operate.

We will not abandon our efforts to meet the needs of the Malian people. In accordance with the objectives of the International Coalition for the Sahel, we reaffirm our commitment to continue our efforts to protect civilians, support the fight against terrorism in the Sahel and contribute to building long-term stability by supporting sustainable development, respect for human rights and the deployment of public services. We will continue to closely monitor and assess the situation.

We urge the Malian transitional authorities to undertake reforms and restore constitutional order, through the timely preparation and organization of elections, as they have pledged to do before the Malian people, ECOWAS and the international community. We fully support recent ECOWAS decisions in this regard.

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