Mali – Armed Groups Pull Out of Peace Talks

The coalition of armed groups accused Mali’s military government of lacking the political will to achieve peace. They gave a precondition to their return to the talks — relocating them to a neutral country.

A coalition of Malian armed groups announced on Thursday their unanimous withdrawal from peace talks running since 2015.

The groups cited what they described as a lack of political will on the part of the West African country’s military government.

Why did the groups suspend talks?

The armed groups, known as the Permanent Strategic Framework for Peace, Security and Development (CSP-PSD), set out in a statement the preconditions for their return to the talks: they must be resumed in a neutral country and under international mediation.

The joint statement said the armed groups “have unanimously decided to suspend their participation in the monitoring and implementation mechanisms” of the agreement, news agency AFP reported.

The groups include the Coordination of Azawad Movements (CMA), a coalition of groups including ethnic Arabs and Tuaregs which signed the 2015 deal with Mali’s then-civilian government.

What was agreed under the 2015 peace talks?

The agreement to end inter-Malian fighting between the country’s Tuareg-dominated north and the central government was signed in the Algerian capital of Algiers in 2015.

Along with the CPA, the deal also included the Malian government and an alliance of its supporting militias.

It came after the north’s ethnic Tuaregs launched a rebel campaign with separatist ambitions, making use of the instability caused by a 2012 military coup.

The peace accord granted them more autonomy, and set the course for peace via talks which have dragged on since.

The aims of the agreement to decentralize the country and integrate former rebels into the armed forces never materialized. Moreover, militant groups affiliated with “Islamic State” (IS) and Al-Qaeda have abused the power vacuum to establish a strong presence in the country.

Since August 2020, Mali has seen two military coups. Earlier this year, the country’s former colonizer and military ally France withdrew thousands of its troops from the country, after Malian forces forged an alliance with Russian military contractor Wagner group.

Germany later followed suit, in an announcement made last month.

(AFP, Reuters)

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