Over the past two weeks the situation in Mali has changed dramatically. The government armed forces have succeeded in dislodging the militants from significant parts of the country. As the state of emergency is extended for three more months, there is hope that the government of Mali will be able to restore stability in the country. However, it is obvious that the rebels’ main goal is to seize as much territory within Mali as possible. The “vacuum of power” in northern Mali increases terrorist activity in the region and this territory is used for a wide range of trafficking activities, and drugs and arms smuggling. This situation poses a threat to the wider world, so the international community has rightly expressed support for the Malian people.
The G8 Political Directors, who recently met in London to prepare the agenda for the G8 Foreign Ministers’ meeting in April, expressed their grave concern over the situation in Mali and its regional consequences. They noted that it is necessary both to halt the offensive by terrorist groups towards southern Mali and to prevent the collapse of the Malian state. The G8 countries welcome the French military action undertaken at the President of Mali’s request, and advocate the swift implementation of UN Security Council resolution 2085, calling for the African-led International Support Mission’s (AFISMA) immediate deployment to Mali. The United States, the UK and others have contributed their airplanes to transport French forces.
Unfortunately, we have to admit that the conflict in Libya has triggered a rise in illegal arms trafficking, which fuels escalating tensions in the Sahel region. International terrorism and Islamic extremism have no boundaries, as was demonstrated by the recent hostage crisis in Algeria. The destabilization of the region is a serious concern, which should be addressed collectively by international community.
Russia strongly condemns the actions of the extremists and separatists in Mali, who are destabilizing the whole region. We act on the premise that, during the UN-authorized military operation, human rights and freedoms will not be violated and that the Malian government will act strictly in compliance with UN Security Council resolution 2085. We agree with the UK government that the military operation in Mali should be accompanied by the launch of a political dialog in order to ensure constitutional order is restored. This is the only effective way to achieve long-term stability in the region.
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