Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, featured on Press TV World News on August 20, 2012. Azikiwe is a writer and broadcast journalist on African and world affairs., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
The interview with Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, over Press TV's Top Five world news program, can be viewed by clicking on the website below:
Mon May 27, 2013 4:37PM GMT
Press TV has conducted an interview with Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, about the issue of the French war on Mali with 3,700 troops, 1,000 of which intending to stay beyond 2013 despite the presence of UN forces there.
The following is an approximate transcript of the interview.
Press TV: Why does France want to keep its presence in Mali despite UN forces being deployed there?
Azikiwe: France is an imperialist country. Mali is a former colony of France. There are also strategic minerals and resources inside of Mali including oil, uranium as well as gold. It is strategically located as a neighboring country to other areas in West as well as North Africa, for example Algeria, which is rich in natural gas as well as oil.
The war in and of itself has spilled over earlier in January of this year into Algeria with attacks on the In Amenas (gas) complex. And just recently this week it has spilled over into neighboring Niger where France owns a uranium mining facility. And of course in Niger over two dozen people have been killed as a result of French intervention.
This French intervention is sparking resistance throughout West Africa as well as North Africa and France still has 3,800 troops inside of Mali. This is by no means a unilateral or complete withdrawal from Mali, it is only a partial withdrawal and France is still there suppressing and oppressing the Malian people.
Press TV: How much can the African Union bring the issue of Mali under its own control? It’s the 50th anniversary of the African Union.
Azikiwe: This has to be dealt with on a very serious level by the African Union. Today represents the 50th anniversary of the formation of the Organization of African Unity - the predecessor to the African Union. All over Africa and the African world people are commemorating this very, very important milestone in the history of Africa.
But the African Union, the 53 member states who are meeting this week in Ethiopia, have to deal seriously with the question of US, French, British and NATO intervention throughout the entire length and breadth of the continent of Africa. If this is not done of course the independence of Africa, the unity of Africa is going to be imperiled.
It’s important that the African Union form an African stand-by force that can intervene in these conflicts throughout the continent in order to prevent AFRICOM and NATO from coming into Africa because their only agenda is to rip off the strategic natural resources and to establish military bases for these imperialist states throughout the African continent.
Press TV: Another major cause for concern is the people. How can the refugee crisis be addressed?
Azikiwe: It’s going to be very difficult when you have a military force from outside of Africa occupying the area.
It’s been documented by the United Nations that the French intervention in Mali has in fact worsened the efforts to bring humanitarian assistance to the people in Mali. Also refugees have spilled over into neighboring states as well including Niger and Algeria and other states throughout the region.
So therefore the French along with the United States, which also has Special Forces in Niger, which was also involved in the training of Malian military forces prior to the coup in March of 2012, are largely responsible for this type of large scale destabilization that is going on right now throughout West and North Africa.
Of course, yes, it’s going to damage the stability of the societies and it’s also going to damage the capacity of humanitarian organizations to deliver the necessary food, water, medicines and medical services that are needed for people who have been internally displaced as well as made refugees as a result of these ongoing conflicts that the imperialists are involved in, in Africa.