Moscow Slams Mali PM’s Arrest

MOSCOW, December 11 (RIA Novosti) – The arrest of Mali’s Prime Minister Cheick Modibo Diarra will destabilize the situation in the African country, the Russian president’s point man for Africa said on Tuesday.

Diarra was trying to leave the country late on Monday when he was arrested, reportedly on the orders of Capt. Amadou Sanogo, the leader of the March 2012 coup. Diarra resigned on state television hours after being arrested.

“The complexity of the situation is evident from the fact that the UN is considering a military operation, not a peace mission in Mali,” Russian presidential representative Mikhail Margelov said.

“The operation is to be conducted even if an agreement on a political solution to the crisis is reached.”

The consequences of a new coup in Mali would be difficult to predict, he said, adding that instability in Mali could spill over to Mauritania and Niger.

Diarra became prime minister of an interim government in April after the military officially handed power back to civilians.

Last weekend Diarra organized a demonstration calling for a UN resolution to back a planned military intervention to retake Mali’s north from armed groups.

Many within Mali’s military are opposed to foreign intervention, saying they need only financial and logistical support.

Military spokesman Bakary Mariko told the BBC that the prime minister was suspected of attempting to jeopardize the planned political dialogue over the transition to democracy.

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