New Hope For Strife-Torn Mali
Amid strife and crisis engulfing Mali, the United States of America today expressed optimism that the African country can hurdle its pressing challenges.
In her remarks at a meeting with Malian civil society in New York, US Permanent Representative to the UN, Samantha Power, said there is much to celebrate in Mali’s turnaround since the dark days of 2012 and part of 2013.
She said Mali is emerging from a period of extreme stress brought on by political upheaval, civil strife, and drought.
New Hope, New Signs Of Democracy At Work
Ms. Power highlighted that there is a new glimmer of hope, as a new president was elected with the highest voter turn-out in the country’s history,
She pointed out that Mali has other assets as well including a new elected government that is pushing to end impunity and to promote accountability, so that Malians start to see justice be done and corruption ended.
In addition, Mali has brave judges pursuing justice in the face of threats to their own lives.
The country also has civilian control being restored for the security sector, essential to democratic governance.
A Sense Of Optimism For Mali
According to Ms. Power, for two decades, Mali was widely cited as an example of stable democratic governance in which a multi-ethnic, multi-religious society lived in relative peace and security.
She said the crisis that began in 2012 was terrible, but it was also a sharp departure from the country’s traditions.
“Mali’s heritage is one of tolerance; your people strive for consensus; your reputation is built on mutual respect; and your future depends on your resilience and on your determination to move forward together.” – Ms. Power
US and UN Helping Mali Face Its Challenges
Ms. Power says the US government is prepared to help in whatever way it can to assist Mali’s rise from its tormenting crisis.
She also cited that the UN Security Council is always there for Mali because of the world’s interest in supporting the efforts of its government and society to recover from war, achieve reconciliation, and move ahead.
The United States has also been a strong supporter of the UN, AU, and French missions that have assisted these efforts.
The US is looking forward to a continued partnership with the Mali government in helping to consolidate security gains and deal with the political challenges that, in the past, have often been left unresolved.
Ms. Power stressed the US does not want to see history repeat itself.
“This is the moment to build a new, brighter future for all the Malian people.” – Ms. Power
To support reconciliation and dialogue, the US and UN have fostered initiatives in such strife-torn places as Douentza and in villages along the Niger River from Niafunke to Timbuktu.
The US and UN have also worked with some 80 civil society organizations to train young people in peace building and reconciliation techniques.
Both have assisted in the broadcasting of more than 3,000 radio programs and 80 television presentations promoting peace.
Just recently, US and UN have collaborated with more than 5,000 community leaders, including people from the religious sector, women’s groups, youth associations, and schools.
US Responds To Evolving Crisis In Mali
The US has named the challenges Mali continues to face: al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb’s (AQIM) continued presence in northern Mali, the restoration of democracy, the need to begin negotiations with northern groups that renounce terrorism and recognize the unity of the Malian state, and a significant ongoing humanitarian crisis.
The evolving crisis in Mali is one of the most difficult, complex, and urgent problems West Africa has faced in decades.
Mali’s problems reflect the fragility of governance in the region, the lack of economic development especially in northern Mali where the absence of meaningful opportunities for people to engage with their governments, and the widespread desperation that exists in an unforgiving, arid region with chronic food insecurity.
Poor governance, weak democratic institutions, and a lack of development and economic opportunity create fertile ground for terrorism and instability.