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Western powers condemn presence of Russian mercenaries in Mali

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AP/Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


A number of western countries have denounced on Thursday the presence of Russian mercenaries in Mali.

In a joint letter, 15 countries including France, Germany and Canada condemned the deployment of paramilitary company Wagner on Malian territory.

The letter did not threaten Bamako with the departure of foreign forces currently involved in anti-jihadist fighting.

Previously, French president, Emmanuel Macron, said that the presence of Wagner's forces in Mali would be incompatible with the presence of French soldiers.

On Tuesday, Macron and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed Moscow's proposals for framing relations between Russia and the West in Europe. The two leaders also discussed Mali.

After nearly nine years in the Sahel region, last June France began reorganising its miltary presence in Mali focusing on the borders of Niger and Burkina Faso.

The aim of the French plan is to reduce their military presence in the region from 5,000 to a maximum of 3,000 by 2023.

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