Mali Top Diplomat Against the Presence of Peacekeeping Forces in Mali

By IndepthAfrica
In Article
Feb 6th, 2013

While François Hollande was briefing the U.S Vice President Joe Biden on the current situation in Mali during a luncheon, the Malian Minister of foreign Affairs Tieman Coulibaly, was speaking to a group of students and analysts and french meida in a conference at Sciences Po Paris. He echoed the scenes of jubilation of Malians when welcoming the French President François Hollande Saturday in Timbuktu. then he applauded the French military intervention that “helped to stop terrorists who were planning to destroy our state” and would have delivered to drug traffickers. ” On several occasions, he appointed French action of “a just war” because “what happens in Mali is a war of civilizations. This is obscurantism against freedom. ” “We were attacked because we are a democracy,” he added. He also said that “France is not intended to stay in Mali. Malians must lead the result of this war and take their destiny in hand after receiving the help of the French in terms of logistics. ” However, the Malian Minister disagreed with Paris on the deployment of a peacekeeping mission under the auspices of the UN. “What is the mission of peace? Peace between Mali and whom? Between Mali and AQIM? between Mali and Mujao or Ansar Dine” he asked. “On the other hand, there are only terrorists. The mission should instead support the Malian army to stabilize the whole country.” In a statement at the Elysee Palace today with François Hollande, Biden supported the sending of peacekeepers in Mali. This is a response to the slow mobilization of African forces of ECOWAS who are supposed to take over from French forces. Malian Minister acknowledged that the delay “is evidence of the need for greater integration.”
He also discussed the situation in Kidal “as an important episode, a moment of truth.” Kidal is currently under the control of the MNLA and the Islamic Movement of Azawad MIA. He recalled that when the MNLA accept the presence of French soldiers, he refused the Malian and African armies. But “behind the MNLA, there are auxiliaries of AQIM.”

Tieman Coulibaly blamed MNLA of Malian crisis Malian : “On January 17 2012, Benaka, a town north-east, was attacked by forces we thought independence movement. In fact, it was the MNLA that plunged Mali in a strong concern. ” But beyond the MNLA and separatism, “the war was imposed by the cartel of transnational terrorist act with the means obtained by drug trafficking and ransom obtained from kidnapping foreigners.” The minister criticized the “narco-jihadist” led by foreign leaders: “What is AQIM? This is the GSPC, the GIA. ” He recalled that all important AQIM emirs – ben Mokhtar Belmokhtar, Abu Zeid, Yahya Abou El-Hammam, Abdelmalek Droukdel – are Algerians. MUJAO leader, Abu Qumqum, is Mauritania. The only Malian head of one of the armed Islamist groups is the leader of Ansar Dine, Iyad ag Agrali. Composed of men from 5500 to 7000, these groups have recruited “young people without prospects, including young Sahrawi from Tindouf camps,” he said.
Tieman Coulibaly also recalled the impact of the crisis on its neighbor Algeria, “Algeria is interested in what happens in Mali, on its southern border. It monitors its borders but there is no exchange of troops. Algerians have said all that the Algerian army has better things to do than come to Mali. But cooperation between our two countries will evolve, anti-terrorism is a long process. The axis of vulnerability and frailty through Algeria. ”

The Minister also acknowledged the mistakes made by the Malian authorities against jihadists: “We went away in concessions. President Amadou Toumani Touré thought we could gain back these people. ” He also mentioned corruption, weakening the army and that of the State: “The President Amadou Toumani Touré had a vision by consensus, but this resulted in a gradual weakening of political power. The president of the country is busy but the very concept of nation has eroded. ” For three months, Tieman Coulibaly sees two scenarios, one positive and the other “detestable.” “The desirable scenario is that military confrontation ends up soon,” he said. The election before July 31 would be a “victory.” He also called for “an inclusive discussion in all the countries of the North, without marginalizing the Tuareg. Any gap mean stigma. And the Tuareg are not all represented by the MNLA. He stressed the importance of justice and the fight against impunity for abuses, whether committed by Malian soldiers, civilians or armed groups. “Justice is the price of reconciliation,” he said. “We have already referred to the International Criminal Court, which may again be seized.” He also said that his country was open to the arrival of international observers to investigate these abuses, but “they must remain in place and work with the State. Some NGOs are sometimes governments bis. ”

The worst case scenario would be the refusal to disarm militant groups. However, beyond security issues and territorial integrity, the Minister Coulibaly recalled the importance of economic development of poverty-stricken areas of the north: “It is impossible to build a prosperous economy and rely on investments in an unstable region. “Money does not like noise. ”

Said Temsamani

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