Mali’s military-appointed prime minister lashed out at both France and the United Nations in a complaint-filled address on Saturday about his country’s deteriorating security.
Colonel Abdoulaye Maiga, who was appointed Mali’s interim prime minister by the coup leaders last month, accused France of “stabbing the West African nation in the back” with its troop withdrawal.
French leaders “have denied universal moral values ??and betrayed the rich history of the Lumieres philosophers, transforming themselves into a junta at the service of obscurantism,” he told the UN General Assembly.
Maiga condemned the former colonial power for “neo-colonialist, condescending, paternalistic and vindictive policies” such as sanctions against the junta in Mali, which has seen two coups since 2020.
Instead, he hailed “the exemplary and fruitful cooperation between Mali and Russia,” whose security firm Wagner Group was hired by the junta in Bamako, despite widespread concerns in the West.
Maiga also condemned UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who in a recent interview dismissed the junta’s claim that 46 Ivorian soldiers being held in Mali were mercenaries.
Ivory Coast said the soldiers arrested at Bamako airport were sent in support of the UN peacekeeping force MINUSMA, one of the international organization’s largest and most dangerous missions.
“Mr Secretary General, Mali will face all legal consequences for your actions,” Maiga said, before repeating his call for reform of MINUSMA.
Maiga also attacked the leaders of several West African nations who have been pressuring the junta.
He claimed that Niger’s President Mohamed Bazoum was not actually from Niger and accused Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara of “keeping power only for himself and his clan” by amending the constitution to serve a third term.
The military ejected Mali’s president-elect Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in 2020 out of frustration at the failure to stop a jihadist insurgency.
France withdrew its last troops from Mali in August after a nine-year deployment, seeing little progress in the fight against the jihadists and poor relations with the junta.