Mali’s foreign minister called on the UN to withdraw its peacekeeping force “without delay” from his country.
Abdoulaye Diop accused the force, Minusma, of having “become part of the problem by fueling inter-community tensions”. He was addressing the UN Security Council.
The Minusma has more than 13,000 soldiers. Its decade-old mission has failed to stop the spread of jihadist violence.
Russian Wagner mercenaries are now assisting Mali’s military rulers.
Western officials have accused Wagner of human rights abuses in Ukraine and parts of Africa, and last month the United States announced sanctions against Ivan Maslov, whom it described as the most senior Wagner official in Mali.
Wagner has not commented on the Western allegations and his activities in Mali and other parts of Africa remain shrouded in secrecy.
Minister Diop’s criticism of Minusma followed earlier Malian objections to France’s longstanding involvement in Mali. The alliance with France, the former colonial power, collapsed last year.
Mr. Diop spoke of a “crisis of confidence between the Malian authorities and the Minusma” and declared “the Malian government calls for the immediate withdrawal of the Minusma”.
Minusma’s mandate is due to end on June 29, but UN chief Antonio Guterres has recommended that the mission be reconfigured to focus on a few limited priorities.
The UN currently lists military contingents from Chad, Bangladesh and Egypt as the largest in the force.
Asked about Diop’s remarks on Friday, the UN’s special envoy to Mali, El-Ghassim Wane, said: “We will be guided by the decision [Security] The Council can take”.
But he added that without the consent of the host country “operating in a specific country would be extremely difficult, if not impossible”.
A report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights accuses Malian armed forces and “foreign security personnel” of killing more than 500 people during an operation in the village of Moura, in the center of Mali, last March. The governments of Mali and Russia have both condemned the report.