Mali: Government seeks explanation from Spain for ‘not ruling out’ a NATO mission in the country

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Spain’s ambassador has been asked by Mali’s government to explain after the Spanish foreign minister said he “does not rule out” the possibility of a NATO mission in the country.

“Today we called the ambassador of Spain to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to strongly protest these statements,” Abdoulaye Dio said in an interview he gave to public television ORTM.

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Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Alvarez on Thursday did not rule out the possibility of a NATO mission to Mali. “No, we cannot rule it out (…) If it was necessary and if there was a threat to our security, we would certainly do it,” he told radio station RNE, on the sidelines of the NATO summit held in Madrid.

“These statements are unacceptable, unfriendly, serious,” because they “encourage an attack against an independent and sovereign country. We have asked for an explanation, a clarification of this position, from the Spanish government,” Diop said.

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“The (Spanish) minister must remember that the current state of insecurity and the spread of terrorism in the Sahel is mainly linked to NATO’s intervention in Libya, whose consequences we are still paying,” he added.

“Spain did not request during the NATO meeting, nor at any other time, an intervention, mission or any action of the alliance in Mali,” replied the country’s embassy in Mali.

In the afternoon, Mali’s foreign minister said on Twitter that he spoke by phone with his Spanish counterpart who “denied” that there is any possibility of NATO military intervention in that country with which Madrid maintains “friendly cooperative relations”.

NATO’s new strategic doctrine states for the first time that the Middle East, North Africa and Sahel regions are of “strategic importance” to the alliance, while also citing the threats of terrorism and irregular migration.

Spain fears that instability in the Sahel, where many jihadist groups operate, could lead to an increase in migration flows.

Source: RES-MPE

Source: Capital

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