The fifth round of Inter-Malian negotiations took place in Algiers from February 16 till March 1st, 2015 under the auspices of Algeria’s Foreign Minister as leader of
the International Mediation Team (ECOWAS, African Union, MINUSMA, European Union, OIC, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, and Chad).
The formal closing ceremony was marked by a Peace and Reconciliation Agreement for Mali being initialled in the presence of the Mediation Team, Parties and other distinguished guests.
The agreement was initialled on March 1st 2015 by the Government of Mali, represented by Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop, the Platform, represented by the Chief Coordinator of the Patriotic Resistance Movements and Forces (CMFPR), Mr Harouna Toureh, and the Arab Movement of Azawad, represented by its leader Ahmed Ould Sidi Mohamed.
All members of the Mediation Team initialled the agreement on behalf of their respective countries. France, represented by its Ambassador in Algiers, initialled the agreement and made a statement of support and encouragement. The US Ambassador also made a statement.
The Coordination including Bilal Ag Echarif’s National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), AI Ghabbas Ag Intallah’s HCUA, Brahim Ould Sidatti’s MAA-dissidence, and also Brahim Ag Assaleh’s CPA has preferred to defer initialling, on the pretext that it needed additional time to “consult with its grassroots”.
The agreement was reached as a result of long and laborious negotiations launched officially in Algiers on July 16, 2014, in order to put an end to the crisis that has been unfolding in Northern Mali since 2012, through dialogue and national reconciliation in full respect of territorial integrity, national unity, and the secular and republican form of government in Mali, as well as by addressing effectively and adequately the legitimate claims of the populations in the north of Mali.
The status of the northern regions of Mali polarized discussions between the Parties throughout the negotiations.
The Agreement that evolved from compromise comprises wisely devised measures structured around the following points:
• Setting up an institutional architecture based on local authorities elected by universal suffrage and given broad powers ;
• Enabling the populations of the regions involved to manage their own affairs based on the principle of free administration;
• Ensuring a broader representation of populations in northern Mali in national institutions (provision has been made for a second chamber in the Parliament);
• Strengthening the rule of law and bringing justice closer to litigants;
• Establishing a defence and security system based on the principle of unity, inclusiveness, and representativeness;
• Active and significant participation of the populations, especially those in the North in local security management ;
• Progressive redeployment of reconstructed Malian armed and security forces;
• Creating a Development Zone in the Northern Regions with an Interregional Consultative Council and specific Development Strategy adapted to sociocultural and geographical realities and climatic conditions. This Strategy will be funded through a Sustainable Development Fund raised from national public sources and international contributions;
• The international community’s commitment to guarantee that the provisions of the Agreement are effectively implemented and respected and grant political, diplomatic, financial, technical, and logistical support for the efforts deployed to that effect;
• The signature of the Agreement will open the way to an interim period.
The initialling of the Agreement is an important step towards the finalization of negotiations to be followed by its signature which is to take place in Mali in the weeks to come. Efforts will be further undertaken to ensure that all Malian stakeholders join the process.
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