The Malian government and rebels finally signed truce accord, garnering an applaud from UN Security Council and the international community
Reports say the signing was held in Ouagadougou. The ‘Preliminary Agreement to the Presidential Election and the Inclusive Peace Talks in Mali’ was signed between the transitional authorities of Mali and the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) and the High Council for the Unity of Azawad (HCUA).
The new deal was reached after 10 days of intense negotiations. The agreement entails the permission for Malian troops to enter the rebel-held city of Kidal in the northeast of Mali and to ensure security in the incoming presidential elections set to take place on July 28.
Reports say long-term peace talks will begin after the election.
United States Welcomes Mali Agreement
In a press statement by Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki, the US applauds the Preliminary Agreement on Presidential Elections and Inclusive Peace Talks in Mali signed by the interim Government of Mali and northern armed groups.
She says the agreement clears the way for the return of Malian administrative and security authorities to Kidal to permit the holding of presidential elections there on July 28.
In addition, Ms. Psaki affirms that the new deal sets the stage for a second phase of negotiations and inclusive dialogue with an elected Malian Government aimed at fostering national reconciliation and building a sustainable peace.
“We applaud the leadership of the ECOWAS, African Union, and UN mediators and international partners.” – Ms. Psaki
Furthermore, as an active participant in the efforts of the international community in Mali, the US welcomes the opportunity to support efforts to ensure and oversee the full implementation of the agreement.
Human rights abuse rampant in Mali
Reports say serious human rights abuses were taking place in Mali, despite the presence of around 3,500 French troops.
The outbreak of conflict in northern Mali was caused by clashes between Government forces and Tuareg rebels.
Tuareg rebels launched a new rebellion in the north on 17th of January. Since then, troops have clashed with rebels in several northern towns.
Tuareg nomads are present throughout the Sahel region of Africa. Both Mali and Niger have battled Tuareg uprisings in the last decade.
The Sahel has regularly been afflicted by food insecurity as drought, poor harvests and rising food prices have left the region on the brink of a humanitarian crisis.
The Sahel belt of Africa stretches from Senegal to Eritrea.
US Responds to Evolving Crisis in Mali
US names 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.
US says 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.