(Photo credit: Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
On 23 August, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian travelled to Mali to meet with interim President Colonel Assimi Goïta, one week after France withdrew the last of its troops from the African state.
Amir-Abdollahian expressed Tehran’s determination to develop cooperation with Bamako and praised the nation’s struggles against terror groups, highlighting Iran’s experience in the successful fight against ISIS in West Asia.
Western military troops have been operating in Mali – a former French colony – since 2013, allegedly to assist in defeating terrorism. But as terror acts steadily increased over the past decade, Malians have slammed the foreign military intervention and labelled the presence of French troops as an “occupation.”
In a previous letter to the UN Security Council president, Mali’s Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop accused France of supporting terrorists in his country.
“These flagrant violations of Malian airspace were used by France to collect information for terrorist groups operating in the Sahel and to drop arms and ammunition to them,” the letter charged.
In the meeting to boost bilateral relations between Iran and Mali, Goïta emphasized his nation’s readiness to host Iranian industrialists and entrepreneurs.
Earlier in the day, Iran’s top diplomat took part in the first Iran-Mali joint economic commission with his Malian counterpart, Diop.
After unveiling special plans to promote economic cooperation with the West African nation, Amir-Abdollahian took aim at the “failure” of western sanctions imposed on sovereign nations.
“The west’s nonsensical sanctions policy has failed, and nations will move forward with perseverance, stability, and self-confidence,” Amir-Abdollahian said.
He also called on Malian authorities to take advantage of Tehran’s accumulated experience in the field of countering western sanctions.
“Iran attaches great importance to the development of relations with the important and beautiful African continent. The new Iranian government of President [Ebrahim] Raisi places special emphasis on prioritizing the relationship with Africa, especially with a historical and civilized country like the Republic of Mali,” the Iranian foreign minister affirmed.
For his part, the Malian foreign minister praised Raisi’s commitment to Africa.
“Many countries are interested in Africa for their own interests, but Iran’s choice is different. Iran’s choice is not for political purposes and does not seek superiority, and seeks the interests of Africans,” Diop said.
At the conclusion of their meeting, Amir-Abdollahian announced that the Islamic Republic would donate one million doses of its homemade COVID-19 vaccine to Mali.
Leading a high-ranking economic delegation on a tour of Africa, Amir-Abdollahian is next set to visit Tanzania and Zanzibar.