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Russia vetoes extension of UN sanctions in Mali

A UN vehicle in Mali   -  
Copyright © africanews
Sean Kilpatrick/AP


Russia on Wednesday vetoed a United Nations Security Council proposal to extend sanctions on Mali which is run by a military junta.

Thirteen of the council's 15 members backed the draft resolution led by Mali's former colonial power France and the United Arab Emirates.

This means that the regime banning travel and freezing the assets of anyone seen to threaten peace in the fragile country ended on Thursday.

"Unfortunately, despite the fact that we repeatedly urged a constructive approach and a sensible compromise, the texts did not in any way take into consideration the concerns of the Malian side or the Russian Federation's position," said Vassily Nebenzia, Russia’s permanent representative to the United Nations at the vote.

Moscow was opposed to keeping sanctions monitors in Mali. The UN team reported earlier this month that Malian troops and Bamako’s foreign partners, believed to be Russia’s Wagner mercenaries, were committing human rights abuses.

Deputy US ambassador to the UN, Robert Wood, told the council that Moscow wanted to get rid of the monitoring team “to stifle publication of uncomfortable truths about Wagner’s actions in Mali”.

The junta had urged the end of the sanctions, after earlier forcing an end to a decade-long UN peacekeeping mission in the country.

It has also kicked out French forces who were helping battle an Islamic insurgency, instead teaming up with Wagner fighters since 2021.

"While Russia very regularly underscores the importance of cooperation between states as equals, we regret that it has put to the vote a draft text, which was not subject to discussion among Security Council members, on a topic as crucial as this one and at this time that is crucial to Mali, the region, and the implementation of the peace agreement," said Nathalie Broadhurst, deputy permanent representative of France to the United Nations.

Other council members also warned that the ending of the sanctions would reduce the UN’s oversight of and engagement in Mali’s 2015 peace process at a time when there are rising uncertainties in the country.

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