In a call with the leader of Mali, Putin emphasizes the importance of finding a peaceful solution to the coup in Niger.

In a call with the leader of Mali, Putin emphasizes the importance of finding a peaceful solution to the coup in Niger.

On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin held a telephone call with Malian Interim President Assimi Goutita to discuss the situation in Niger, a move likely to fuel Western worries about Russia’s growing influence in West Africa.

The Kremlin said on Tuesday that Putin and Goutin, who was appointed by the Malian government, spoke on the phone at the initiative of Goutin.

The pair discussed a number of topics but “particular attention” was given to the situation in the Sahara-Sahel region, according to the statement.

In a statement, the Kremlin said that Putin stressed the importance of resolving the situation through “only peace-loving political and diplomatic channels.”

The statement said that the talks were part of the follow-up to the Russia-Malian summit last month in St Petersburg.

Poroshenko’s appeal for a peaceful solution comes a day after West Africa leaders ordered the “activation” and “deployment” of the regional standby force in Niger to help restore constitutional order following the July coup.

In a pre-recorded speech at the Moscow International Security Conference (MCIS) on Tuesday, President Vladimir Putin noted that the countries of the Sahel region, including Central Africa Republic and Mali, had been subject to direct attacks from terrorist groups following the United States and its allies’ intervention in Libya, which had resulted in the dissolution of the Libyan state.

Mali’s interim President Goita also echoed Putin’s call for a “peaceful solution” in Niger, saying on Twitter that “he (Putin) emphasized the need for a peaceful solution in order to create stability in the Sahel.”
Mali continues to call on the UN and the African Union to avoid any military action against Niger.

In early August, Mali hosted a high-level delegation of Niger junta officials, hinting at a possible alliance between the junta and the Wagner mercenary group.

Wagner fighters have been deployed to Mali, where they have been invited by the country’s government to help quell an Islamic rebellion that is brewing near the country’s borders with Burkina Faso and Niger.

Wagner co-founder and financier, Yevgeniy Prigozhin, was seen at last month’s Russia-Africa Summit in St Petersburg, where he met with African leaders in private, according to accounts linked to the mercenary group.

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