Top US diplomat warns Russian group not to interfere in Mali | Govt. & Politics

“Our purpose is not to make our partners choose, it is to give them choices,” he said. “And when people have choices, they usually make the right one.”

Tall Sall, the foreign minister who will play a major role in the forum, thanked Blinken for his comments.

“We have a diplomacy of sovereignty from which we do not exclude anyone,” she said. “There is not only one choice. We have many choices.”

As he does in France and other French-speaking countries, Blinken spoke extensively in French at his public appearances, including with Senegal’s president, Macky Sall, and at an event at Dakar’s Institute Pasteur, which hopes to begin producing COVID-19 vaccines with American help next year.

In his meetings, Blinken addressed security issues, particularly a rise in jihadi violence across the Sahel and increasing authoritarianism that many believe is fueling extremism.

Senegal is a key partner in the fight against extremism and last year it hosted the U.S. military’s annual counterterrorism exercise, Flintlock.

One area where Sall may seek U.S. help is with increased security measures along the country’s borders with Mali and Mauritania, where several counterterrorism operations have taken place in recent years.

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