Iran says it is ready to help resolve crisis in Mali

By IndepthAfrica
In Mali
Jan 27th, 2013
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TEHRAN – Iran said on Saturday it is ready to help resolve the crisis in Mali, where several insurgent groups have taken up guns against the government, before the situation gets worse.

“We have announced that Iran, as the president of the Non-Aligned Movement, is ready to help resolve the crisis in Mali before the crisis deepens,” Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi told reporters in Addis Ababa.

He was invited to the Ethiopian capital to attend the 2013 Summit of the African Union, which opened on January 21 and closes on January 28.

“It will be in the interests of the international community if we can help restore stability in the country of Mali as soon as possible… and we will hold talks with foreign ministers of various countries to see how we can step in the issue,” Salehi said.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Salehi criticized the West for the double-standard policy it has adopted toward the issue of extremism and said, “Extremism was first created by the Westerners themselves. Extremism was created when the issue of Afghanistan was raised, and they themselves created such (extremist) groups, and now they have been caught in a quandary and have made the international community face a serious crisis.”

“The same groups which entered Syria as mercenaries enjoy the support of Western countries, while they deal with them in Mali, and this is a serious contradiction in Europe’s attitude,” Salehi said, referring to the French-led military campaign against insurgent groups in Mali.

“Iran is opposed to any form of extremism, but at the same time we are opposed to interfering in the internal affairs of countries and launching a military campaign… Problems cannot be resolved by force,” he said, adding that the root causes of problems should be identified.

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