NewsAfricaSergey Lavrov offers Mauritania support from Russia in the anti-jihadist fight

Sergey Lavrov offers Mauritania support from Russia in the anti-jihadist fight

Published on : 02/09/2023 – 08:06

After Mali, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was in Mauritania on Wednesday where he offered Moscow’s support in the anti-jihadist fight. He affirmed to respect the positions of this country which spoke out against the war in Ukraine.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday (February 8th) extended Moscow’s offer of support against the jihadists to Mauritania, saying he respected the positions of this country which has come out against the war in Ukraine.

His Mauritanian counterpart Mohamed Salem Ould Marzouk invoked the “rules of international law”, while saying he “understood” Russian security concerns in Europe.

Sergei Lavrov continued in Nouakchott the Russian diplomatic offensive in Africa, the terrain of strategic competition between great powers intensified by the war in Ukraine.

Tuesday in Mali, of which Russia became the privileged partner after the takeover by the military, he promised Moscow’s help to the countries of the Sahel and the Gulf of Guinea against the jihadists, and hinted at increased involvement in the continent.

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With Mauritania, Sergei Lavrov was going to a pivotal country between the Maghreb and sub-Saharan Africa.

After having borne the brunt of the jihadist push itself, Mauritania, a vast mostly desert country of 4.5 million inhabitants, has not experienced an attack since 2011 when jihadism spread elsewhere in the Sahel, in the Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, to now threaten the Gulf of Guinea further south.

Mauritania is part with Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad of the G5 Sahel, which Mali left in 2022, and of its joint anti-jihadist force supported by France, the United States and the UN. Paris claims with Nouakchott an important security and defense cooperation, in addition to development.

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Statements against the war in Ukraine

Mauritania also voted in March 2022 for the UN resolution asking Russia to immediately cease its military operations in Ukraine, while many African countries abstained or refrained from taking part in the vote.

It voted in October for a resolution against the annexation of four regions of Ukraine by Russia. On the other hand, she abstained in November during a vote on war reparations that Russia should pay to Ukraine.

“We expressed our respect for the policy of neutrality pursued by Mauritania in a consistent manner on all axes,” Sergei Lavrov said in a statement to journalists.

“This neutrality does not prevent Mauritania from playing an active role in examining the problems of the African continent, above all those that exist near Mauritania. I am talking about the terrorist threat in the Sahelo-Saharan region and the tasks carried out to break the deadlock in the settlement process in Western Sahara”, bordering Mauritania and theater of a conflict between Morocco and the Polisario Front supported by Algeria, he said.

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“We will actively support these efforts of our African friends, on the basis that they have an interest in being assisted in this work,” he added.

His Mauritanian counterpart Mohamed Salem Ould Marzouk recalled during a joint press conference “certain constants” of Mauritanian diplomacy, “in particular respect for the rules of international law and the principles of the United Nations Charter”.

However, he added, “Mauritania understands Russia’s security concerns and finds that they must be taken into consideration for its important role in security and stability in Europe as well as at the international level”.

Sergei Lavrov was received by President Mohamed Ould Cheikh El Ghazouani, the national news agency reported.

With AFP

Source: France 24

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