Mali’s army “has the opportunity to defend its territory” and the nation needs to continue to work with Moscow, Abdoulaye Diop has said Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Mali’s Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop, left, shake hands during a joint press conference following their meeting at the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Reception House, in Moscow, Russia. © Alexey Filippov / Sputnik

Military cooperation with Moscow has helped strengthen the security of Mali, Abdoulaye Diop, the foreign minister of the West African state, announced during a press conference on Wednesday.

After talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Diop noted that working in tandem with Russia had enabled the Malian army “to defend its territory.”

“Cooperation with Russia has contributed to ensuring security, our potential has been strengthened, and we see the results,” Mali’s foreign minister stated.

Abdoulaye Diop appreciated Moscow’s efforts in training Malian specialists; however, he also noted that “it is necessary to diversify [relations], particularly through the economy.”

“Good relations should be accompanied by good trade and economic cooperation,” Diop concluded.

African nation receives more food aid from Russia African nation receives more food aid from Russia

Sergey Lavrov also pointed out that “Mali’s defense capabilities are being enhanced through the efforts of Russian instructors,” as well as the training of Malian Armed Forces personnel within Russia.

Meanwhile, Moscow is committed to providing more humanitarian aid to Mali, Russia’s foreign minister stated. “We discussed Mali’s humanitarian needs. We will certainly continue that support,” Lavrov said.

Diop claimed that the Sahel country valued Russia’s stance regarding the region, which has witnessed a succession of coups in recent years. He lauded Russia’s fulfillment of its promises such as the provision of wheat and fertilizer.

On January 17, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova announced that Mali had received 25,000 tons of humanitarian grain from Moscow. (RT)