Countries That 'Practiced Slavery or Colonization' Have no Lesson to Teach: Mali's Foreign Minister
In February, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov paid a visit to Mali to discuss the two countries' economic ties, security, and counterterrorism efforts. He also invited the president of Mali to the second Russia-Africa Summit, which is slated to take place in July. Observers have seen this visit as a sign of Mali's growing trust in Russia.
The powers that profited from slavery and colonization in Africa are in no position to give lessons on human rights, says Abdoulaye Diop, Mali's Minister of Foreign Affairs.
In addition, the minister stated that the question of human rights should not be instrumentalized by anyone, least of all by powers that practiced slavery and colonization.
"Mali does not want human rights to be instrumentalized or politicized, as they are not the prerogative of any country or civilization [...] It is astonishing that certain countries that practiced slavery or colonization are today the ones giving lessons to others on human rights", Abdoulaye Diop declared during the celebration of Russia Day.
The minister illustrated his point with the example of Palestine, saying that many people would rather "look the other way" than talk about human rights in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He stressed that human life had the same price "wherever it may be, in Ukraine, the Sahel, Palestine or Latin America."
Abdoulaye Diop also took advantage of his speech to recall Mali's ties with Russia, welcoming the current rapprochement
between the two countries. He emphasized that the two states were "working to promote their economic development" in a wide range of fields, from agriculture to transport and mining.
The Minister assured that Bamako shared "a convergence of views" with Moscow on most international issues. In particular, Mali is in line with the multipolar approach put forward by Russia in recent months.
"Since its independence, Mali has forged strong ties with Russia. We share a common desire to work for a balanced, just world, a multipolar world where the contributions of all countries, civilizations and religions are equally respected," declared the official.
This convergence also extends to the field of security and peace-building
in the Sahel, declared the head of Mali's diplomacy.
In this respect, Bamako has made "numerous acquisitions of Russian defense equipment and tools" in recent months, he added. These weapons are helping the country to fight terrorism.
Last February, Choguel Kokalla Maiga, Prime Minister of the transitional government, praised the defense partnership with Moscow and told Sputnik that "fear has changed sides".