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EU ends part of Mali training mission, fearing Russian interference, Borrell says

EU ends part of Mali training mission, fearing Russian interference, Borrell says

THE European Union will halt part of its training of Mali's armed forces, the EU's top diplomat Josep Borrell said, citing a lack of guarantees from Malian authorities that Russian military contractors would not interfere in the work. The decision is likely to add to international concern about the longevity of the U.N. peacekeeping mission (MINUSMA) and the European Union's EUTM and EUCAP missions, after France and its allies began withdrawing from Mali earlier this year. "We have decided to suspend, to stop, certain formations of our training mission in Mali focused on the units of the armed forces of…
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French minister in Sahel amid talk of Russian hired guns for Mali

French minister in Sahel amid talk of Russian hired guns for Mali

FRANCE’S Armed Forces Minister has arrived in Niger as part of a two-day visit to allies in the Sahel region, where French-led military operations against Islamist militants are under threat from Mali's talks with Russian defence contractors. Diplomatic and security sources have told Reuters that Mali's year-old military junta is close to recruiting the Russian Wagner Group, and France has launched a diplomatic drive to thwart it, saying such an arrangement is "incompatible" with a continued French presence. West Africa's main political bloc, ECOWAS, has also expressed concern. But Mali's junta has dug in, noting that France has begun scaling…
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‘It’s our right to seek military help from anyone’

‘It’s our right to seek military help from anyone’

MALI  has the right to seek military support from whoever it wants, the prime minister said, after France and other foreign powers expressed alarm at a report that Bamako was approaching Russian mercenaries for assistance. Prime Minister Choguel Maiga did not confirm whether the government was in talks with any other party in his comments that were released by a Malian news site, but diplomatic and security sources have told Reuters Mali's government was close to a deal with a private Russian military contractor. The sources said Russia's the Wagner Group would supply mercenaries to train Mali's military and protect…
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Germany, France worried about Mali plan for Russian mercenaries

Germany, France worried about Mali plan for Russian mercenaries

GERMANY has joined France in expressing concern about an agreement between Mali's military rulers and a Russian security company that would bring Russian mercenaries into the African country. Diplomatic and security sources have told Reuters that mercenaries hired by the Wagner Group would train the Malian military and provide protection for senior officials. The deal is close to being agreed on, they said, "We find this extremely worrying," a German foreign ministry spokesperson said. France's foreign minister on Tuesday criticised the plans, saying such a move was "incompatible" with the French military presence in its former colony. France is worried…
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Russian mercenaries to be allowed into Mali

Russian mercenaries to be allowed into Mali

JOHN IRISH and DAVID LEWIS A deal is close that would allow Russian mercenaries into Mali, extending Russian influence over security affairs in West Africa and triggering opposition from former colonial power France, seven diplomatic and security sources said. Paris has begun a diplomatic drive to prevent the military junta in Mali enacting the deal, which would permit Russian private military contractors, the Wagner Group, to operate in the former French colony, the sources said. A European source who tracks West Africa and a security source in the region said at least 1,000 mercenaries could be involved. Two other sources…
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