Russia Warns of Mali Conflict ‘Escalation’

MOSCOW, February 22 (RIA Novosti) – Moscow is calling on the international community to step up its efforts in Mali to prevent the conflict there spreading throughout the region, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Friday.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and UN special envoy to the Sahel region, Romano Prodi, discussed the ongoing fighting in the west African country in Moscow on Thursday.

“It was agreed that a lack of control over the spread of weapons in the region after the Libya conflict has created the basis for an escalation in tensions throughout the Sahel region,” a Foreign Ministry statement said.

Lavrov and Prodi highlighted the need for the international community to consolidate efforts to bring an end to the crisis, in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions, the Foreign Ministry also said.

French troops went into Mali last month to help the African state’s army battle Islamist rebels.

French and Malian troops fought Islamists on the streets of Gao, in Mali’s desert north, on Thursday, just weeks before Paris plans to withdraw some of its 4,000 troops in the country.


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