TOKYO — Japan said on Wednesday it would close its embassy in Mali because of the worsening security situation in the war-torn country, as the military was accused of a number of executions.
In Moscow on Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused western powers of stoking an insurgency in Mali and Algeria’s hostage-taking crisis through their military intervention in Libya.
"Japan will temporarily close the embassy in Mali due to the worsening security in the country, including in the capital of Bamako. The staff will continue the operation in the embassy in France," a foreign ministry statement read.
At least seven Japanese workers were killed in an Islamist terrorist attack in Mali’s neighbour Algeria last week, which Prime Minister Shinzo Abe condemned as "despicable terrorism".
The siege, which was plotted in Mali, prompted many western states with interests in Africa to review the security of their embassies and workers.
The attack was partly in response to France’s intervention to oust Islamist militants who have overrun northern Mali.
In Moscow Mr Lavrov said the world was witnessing "the uncontrolled proliferation of weapons, the infiltration by insurgents, including of the Sahara region".
"The situation in Mali reflects the consequences of what happened in Libya. The hostage-taking in Algeria was a major warning signal," he said.
Arms used or procured in Libya’s 2011 revolution have helped to fan a rebellion in nearby Mali and turned up in last week’s assault on a remote gas facility in Algeria that left at least 38 hostages dead, according to French officials.
Russia abstained from a 2011 United Nations Security Council vote that authorised a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation-led military intervention in Libya. Moscow now defends Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Meanwhile, the International Federation of Human Rights Leagues called for a probe into reports that Malian soldiers have carried out multiple summary executions.