Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, speaking to journalists over satellite television world news. Azikiwe is a news analyst on African and international affairs., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Interview with Abayomi Azikiwe
Sat Apr 27, 2013 5:45PM GMT
To listen to this interview with Abayomi Azikiwe, PANW Editor, on Press TV World News, just click on the website below:
A political analyst tells Press TV that France is re-colonizing Mali and several other states across the African continent.
The comments came after France’s defense minister reaffirmed that the country will keep 1,000 troops in Mali to fight armed groups even after the arrival of more than 12,000 UN peacekeepers later this year.
The UN force is tasked with helping to restore peace in the aftermath of a French-led military operation launched in January to dislodge local fighters who had seized control of the country’s vast north. However, the UN peacekeepers will not be authorized to launch offensive military operations or chase fighters in the desert.
Press TV has conducted an interview with Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, to further discuss the issue. What follows is an approximate transcription of the interview.
Press TV: Mr. Azikiwe, France has said it will keep its forces in Mali even after the arrival of the UN peacekeepers there. I mean some say a re-colonization in Mali is taking place here. How much can this be true?
Azikiwe: It is definitely true and we see this taking place not only in Mali but throughout the entire region of West Africa and Africa as a whole.
They are talking about putting in over twelve thousand United Nations troops. These troops are going to have at least three major challenges. One of course is the fact that France will remain inside of Mali even after the deployment of this United Nations peacekeeping force. They are going to be involved in aggressive military activities in various regions of the central and northern parts of the country.
The second challenge it is going to face is the fact that this peacekeeping force is not supposed to engage in offensive military operations against belligerents.
That is going to be a serious problem because just sitting there they are going to be automatic targets for anyone who disagrees with their presence inside the country.
And thirdly, the question of the role of the Malian military itself.
It is largely in disarray and the reason why it is in disarray is because the United States, the Pentagon, through the US-Africa Command has been involved heavily in training operations, supplying the Malian army with military equipment as well as monetary assistance and this did nothing to strengthen the internal security capacity of the Malian military. In fact it weakened it and as a result of that over a year ago there was a military coup d'état inside the country which plunged Mali into even deeper crisis.
So there has to be some political solution to this problem inside this West African state.
Press TV: And how much can this be related to the energy fact? We know that Mali’s neighbor Niger is rich with uranium.
Azikiwe: Most definitely and also Mali itself it is speculated that it has deposits of uranium as well, they also have gold which has been there for centuries as well as oil and of course you mentioned neighboring Niger where the United States has deployed a drone station as well as one hundred special forces troops.
So this is a major challenge for the African Union coming up to their summit next month. It is going to be the 50th anniversary since the formation of the Organization of African Unity and there has to be some serious discussion about the deeper penetration of the United States and France and other NATO countries throughout the African continent.
Press TV: Speaking of the AU, the African Union, what can the African Union do to curb foreign interference and intervention?
Azikiwe: They have to take a clear position.
They have to go back to some of the positions of the founding fathers for example Dr. Kwame Nkrumah who in his book “Africa Must Unite” that was published at the formation of the Organization of African Unity.
He warned five decades ago against military pacts with former colonial powers and the United States and he also warned about the existence of military bases from the NATO countries on the African continent and this warning has of course come into stark reality particularly over the last several years on the African continent.