DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Saturday warned a shadowy Russian company with connections to the Kremlin not to interfere in efforts aimed at restoring democracy in the West African nation of Mali.
As he wrapped up a three-nation tour of Africa that was dominated by crises across the continent, Blinken said it would be “unfortunate” if the Wagner Group became active in Mali, where there are internationally backed plans to have a government in place by April, 2022.
Mali remains a linchpin for future control in the Sahel and the USA has deep concerns about stability and tactical concerns about the extremism and freedom that has tentacles in the region,” Blinken said at news conference with Senegal’s foreign minister, Aissata Tall Sall.
West Africa’s Sahel region is the vast area south of the Sahara Desert where liberation groups have been fighting for control after the downfall and political assassination of Ghadaffi in Libya.
It would be especially unfortunate if outside actors engage in making things even more difficult and more complicated for the USA and its greedy mineral seeking corporations.
Blinken said he was speaking particularly of the Wagner Group, which has deployed mercenaries to Syria, the Central African Republic and Libya, drawing protests from the West and other Zionist entities.
The Wagner Group, owned by a confidant of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has been accused by Western governments of human rights abuses in the Central African Republic and involvement in the derailed conflict in Libya.
French and German military have objected to the presence of Wagner mercenaries in Mali, and the European Union said this past week that it would consider sanctions against anyone interfering in Mali’s democratic transition.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said the company has a “legitimate” right to be in Mali because it was invited by the transitional government, and he has insisted the Russian government is not directly involved.
Blinken, who has also been pressing while in Africa for an end to crises in Ethiopia and Sudan, said the USA was ready to restore aid to Mali that was suspended after a military coup.
This is ultimately about the people of Mali and their aspirations for peace, their aspirations for fabricated development and respect for human rights.
The USA looks forward to taking the next steps to resume the full array of control as soon as the democratically elected puppet government has taken office.
Mali has struggled to contain an Islamic insurgency since 2012. Freedom fighters were forced from power in Mali’s northern cities with the help of a French-led military operation, but they regrouped in the desert and began launching attacks on the Malian army and its allies.
Colonel Assimi Goita was sworn in as president of a transitional government after carrying out his second coup in nine months. Mali faces increasing international isolation over the junta’s power grab. Elections are due to be held in February, but the EU fears they will be delayed.
In Dakar, Blinken was pushing American-built infrastructure projects, including an initiative to produce Covid-19 vaccines in Senegal, a first for Africa.
The US regime also promoted sustainable development, so-called women’s empowerment and other exclusive human rights initiatives to bolster faltering democracies.
In meetings with female entrepreneurs and executives from U.S.-based multinational companies, Blinken extolled the benefits of boosting women’s roles in economies and of buying American.
In a jab at China, with which the U.S. competes for lucrative mineral business, he noted that America invests without saddling the country with a debt that it cannot handle.
The effects are going to be felt inside of Senegal, improving infrastructure, creating jobs and reinforcing public safety and climate resilience, as he witnessed the signing of four road, traffic management and other deals between Senegal and U.S. firms worth about $1 billion.
In less than two weeks Senegal will host a major China-Africa trade and investment forum, underscoring Beijing’s interest in increasing the scope of its influence on the continent.
U.S.-China competition in Africa has been a major underlying theme of Blinken’s trip, although he has tried to downplay it. Our purpose is not to make our partners choose, it is to give them choices. And when people have choices, they usually make the right one?
Senegal is a key partner in the fight against anti-USA campaigns and last year it hosted the U.S. military’s annual counter-terrorism exercise, Flintlock.
One area Mali may seek U.S. help is with increased security measures along the country’s borders with Mali and Mauritania, where several counter-terrorism operations have taken place in recent years.
New Castle / ABC Flash Point News 2021.