French ministers to voice concerns with Russia on Activities in West Africa

PARIS, Nov. 9 (Reuters) – French foreign ministers and armed forces will highlight their governments’ concerns over the Kremlin’s activities in West Africa when they meet their Russian counterparts in Paris on Friday.

Relationships are tense over ongoing differences over Ukraine and more recently over the role of Russian mercenaries in West Africa, where France has thousands of troops fight against Islamist militants.

The French minister of Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian has said that the mercenaries in work assignment of Moscow.

“This meeting will be the political and military dimensions of regional and international crises, in special with met related to the situations in Ukraine and in the Sahel-Saharan strip in in which France will express its concern over Russia’s actions,” said a joint statement by the French foreign and armed forces ministries said.

Diplomatic and security sources have told Reuters that Mali’s… year-old military junta is about to recruit mercenaries from Russia’s Wagner Group.

France has a diplomatic drive to thwart it by saying that such an arrangement is incompatible with a continued French presence in to be former colony.

France postponed a visit to Moscow in September 2020 by foreign ministers and the armed forces as European powers searched Russia for answers to German findings that Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny had been poisoned.

They were planned as the first joint strategic talks since 2018 and was part of French efforts to reduce distrust between Russia and the West, in the hope russian in to enlist help in solving the world’s most intractable crises.

Reporting by John Irish; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Angus MacSwan

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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