Colonel Assimi Goita, leader of Malian military junta, attends an Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) consultative meeting in Accra, Ghana September 15, 2020. REUTERS/ Francis Kokoroko//File Photo

MOSCOW, Aug 10 (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed possibly supplying food, fertilisers and fuel to Mali in a phone call with the African country’s interim leader Assimi Goita on Wednesday, according to a Kremlin statement.

Goita said on Twitter the two leaders talked about Russia’s support for Mali’s political transition.

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with acting Governor of Kirov region Alexander Sokolov via a video link at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia August 9, 2022. Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin via REUTERS

Goita’s junta came to power in a coup two years ago and has sparred repeatedly with neighbouring countries and Western powers over election delays, alleged army abuses and cooperation with Russian mercenaries in its fight against an Islamist insurgency.

The West African country has deepened its Soviet-era ties to Russia as its relationship soured this year with its long-time ally and former colonial ruler, France.

“We discussed the support of the Russian Federation for Mali’s political transition and I praised the quality of our partnership, which respects the sovereignty of #Mali and the aspirations of its population,” Goita tweeted.

France announced in February it was pulling its troops out of Mali after nearly a decade there fighting insurgents, some with links to al Qaeda and Islamic State, which have since spread across the Sahel region.

Fighters from the Wagner Group, a Kremlin-linked private military company, have been supporting the Malian army in its fight since late last year. read more

Reporting by Reuters; Additional reporting by Nellie Peyton in Dakar; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Mark Potter

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Source: Reuters

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