Iranian Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Salehi has expressed support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Mali, urging the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) to employ its potentials to settle the crisis in the African country.
Salehi made the remarks at a ministerial meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Contact Group in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, to discuss the crisis in Mali.
He called for the restoration of “lawful order” and the adoption of measures to prevent the spilling of Muslims’ blood in the country.
The Iranian top official urged dialog among the parties of the conflict as well as the management of regional and African countries to help settle the crisis. He also praised efforts by the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to solve the issue.
“Iran as the rotating president of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) has proposed that the movement’s political and spiritual potentials be employed to settle the Mali crisis,” Salehi said.
He warned against the consequences of military intervention by major powers in crises across the world and said Mali’s military coup that left a power vacuum in the capital Bamaco has aggravated the situation, turning it into a regional and international conflict.
He said that delivering further humanitarian aid to Mali by OIC and holding elections with the participation of all walks of life throughout Mali was among Iran’s proposals to end the crisis.
Commenting on authorization by the UN Security Council to deploy peacekeeping forces in Mali, Salehi said that officials of the Mali transitional government along with ECOWAS should take measures so that no excuse would be left for the continued presence of foreign forces in Mali.
France launched a war in the resource-rich West African country in January 2013, under the pretext of fighting al-Qaeda-linked extremists.
The French-led war on Mali has caused a serious humanitarian crisis in the northern areas of the country and has displaced thousands of people, who now live in deplorable conditions.