BAMAKO, Nov. 27 (Xinhua) -- Mali's Prime Minister (PM) Cheick Modibo Diarra arrived in Paris on Monday to discuss with the French authorities about the need to strengthen relations between the two countries, a statement from the prime minister's office has indicated.
The statement pointed out that the prime minister's visit to France is part of his efforts to maintain and reinforce the mobilization of the international community around Mali to accelerate the recovery of the country's territorial integrity.
It said the head of the Malian government is expected to hold talks with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, over the support from France towards the recapturing of the regions that are occupied by rebels.
During his press conference on Nov. 5, Mali's Foreign Minister Tieman Coulibaly gave reasons for his earlier meeting with the mediator in the Malian crisis, Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore, who had met on Nov. 4 with the representatives of the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) and Ansar Dine, political and military organizations that control northern Mali, including the three biggest cities of Kidal, Gao and Timbuktu.
While explaining the reasons for his presence in Ouagadougou, Coulibaly noted that "if the protagonists (MNLA and Ansar Dine) go to Ouagadougou, or elsewhere, Mali will also go there to be heard. Wherever Mali is being spoken about, I have to be there. No one can speak about Mali in our absence."
It remains to be seen whether the visit to Paris by the prime minister is because of similar reasons. On Thursday, officials from MNLA were hosted in Paris by the senior officials of the French foreign ministry.
In a statement issued on Friday in Bamako, the Alliance of Patriotic Democrats for Ending the Crisis (ADPS) which brings together political parties and civil society organizations, strongly condemned the official meeting between French officials and the delegation from MNLA.
On Oct. 12, the UN Security Council passed resolution No. 2071, authorizing preparation for the deployment of an international military force in Mali. Another resolution in the same regard is being awaited soon based on a report of the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon.