Jun 142013
 

BRUSSELS, Kingdom of Belgium, June 14, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA) will meet from 17 to 19 June in the European Parliament in Brussels to debate the current situation in Mali, in the Central African Republic and the Republic of Guinea. The plenary debates will be preceded over the weekend by meetings of the JPA standing committees and the Women’s forum.

 

The debates will also focus on the threats posed by military coups on democracy and political stability in the ACP countries, human resources for health in ACP countries and the food and nutrition security. Members of the European Parliament and their counterparts from national parliaments of African, Caribbean and Pacific states are also set to discuss with the representatives of the European Investment Bank its support for development in ACP countries.

 

The formal sitting of the 25th ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly will be opened by its co-presidents Louis Michel (ALDE, BE) and the new ACP co-president, who will replace Musikari Kombo (Kenya). Sean Barrett T.D., Speaker of the Dáil Eireann, will also attend the formal opening.

 

Media information

 

Press conference with the Co-presidents of the Joint Parliamentary Assembly – Louis Michel and the new ACP Co-President – is scheduled for Wednesday 18 June at 17:30 in Altiero Spinelli (ASP) building, room 5G2.

 

The plenary debates will be webstreamed live via EP Live.

 

Venue

European Parliament, Rue Wiertz, 1047 Brussels – Paul Henri Spaak (PHS) building, room 3C50.

 

Source: APO

Jun 132013
 

BRUSSELS, Kingdom of Belgium, June 13, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The EU should be strongly involved in reconstruction and democratisation of Mali, either via its funding and technical assistance or by extending the mandate of EU missions to help broader long-term capacity building in the Malian security sector and government, according to a resolution adopted by MEPs on Thursday.

 

The situation in Mali after the military coup of March 2012 is still fragile due to threats by radical Islamists, organized crime and extensive poverty, stress MEPs, therefore it should receive the EU’s strongest support when building its sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity. They call for adequate, tailor-made funding to restore the rule of law, but also for the EU’s logistic and technical support to help Malians fight drug and arm traffickers.

 

Practice to fight corruption could be included in training provided by the EU training mission to the Malian armed forces, add MEPs.

 

Extension of EU missions

 

The Parliament stresses the decisive role of the EU Training Mission which has provided assistance to the Malian army since February 2013. At the same time MEPs point to the need to support long-term capacity building of the Malian government and army in order to maintain country’s territorial integrity.

 

They call on Catherine Ashton, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, to propose a solution to this end, either by extending the mandate of the current EU training mission or the EU civilian mission in Mali, or by creating a new mission dedicated to the broader reform of the civilian security sector.

 

2013 elections

MEPs welcome the intention to organize elections in Mali on 28 July and 11 August 2013 and stress the importance of democratic, free and fair elections as a first step towards a return to democracy in Mali but warn of possible security challenges during the elections. They call on the EU and its international partners to step up their support for the upcoming electoral process.

Source: APO

Jun 122013
 

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, June 12, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) and the European Union Political and Security Committee (EUPSC) held their 6th Annual Joint Consultative Meeting in Addis Ababa, on 11 June 2013, within the framework of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy. The meeting was co-chaired by Ambassador Rachid Benlounes, Chairperson of the AUPSC for the month of June 2013, and Ambassador Olof Skoog, Permanent Chair of the EUPSC.

The meeting took place in the context of the OAU/AU 50th anniversary year, at a time marked by encouraging developments on the African continent including high economic growth and a steady reduction in conflict, despite several complex political, security and humanitarian crisis situations in West Africa, the Great Lakes region and the Horn of Africa, as well as situations of unconstitutional change of government that require lasting solutions.

The meeting highlighted the need for continued cooperation between the African Union and the European Union to achieve our common goals of ensuring peace and security and promoting democratic governance, respect for human rights, the rule of law, protection of civilians and accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity. The discussions, focused on Mali/Sahel, Guinea Bissau, Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo and the Great Lakes Regions, Central African Republic and the campaign for the elimination of the Lord’s Resistance Army, reaffirmed the commitment of the AUPSC and the EUPSC to enhance joint efforts towards conflict prevention and resolution, the importance of coordinated responses to unconstitutional changes of government and addressing root causes of conflict.

Cooperation AU/EU in Peace and Security

The AUPSC and EUPSC commended the EU’s support to the implementation of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA), provided through a multi-dimensional approach encompassing political, institutional and financial aspects, with the African Peace Facility (APF) as its core instrument. The AU PSC and EU PSC agreed to promote further operationalization of APSA. The EU reaffirmed its commitment to continue supporting the APSA and the African-led peace support operations, through the APF. The two parties commended the efforts being deployed by the AU to further mobilise resources from within the continent and from other international partners to better support the ongoing peace initiatives in the continent. The AU PSC and the EUPSC encouraged other partners to also enhance their level of support towards Africa-led peace efforts.

1. On Mali and the Sahel

The AUPSC and the EUPSC underlined their commitment to the unity, territorial integrity, stability, democratic governance, rule of law, respect for human rights, including sustainable development and lasting solution to the multidimensional crisis in Mali, through a holistic approach based on a combination of security, governance, humanitarian and development tracks. Commending the on-going stabilisation efforts, the two parties welcomed progress made on the security track and encouraged further improvements in the humanitarian and human rights situation. Advocating a smooth and harmonised transformation of AFISMA into MINUSMA, they underlined that the new UN mission should build on results achieved by AFISMA thus far and contribute to long term stability in the country by helping Malian forces prepare for the resumption of their responsibilities over the entire territory of Mali. They stressed the importance of Africa’s continued role in the search for a durable solution to the crises in Mali and stressed the need to take Africa’s concerns into account in the political process in Mali. They welcomed continued efforts by ECOWAS, the core countries and countries of the region to enhance their coordinated contributions to peace, security and development in Mali and in the Sahel-Sahara region.

The two parties recognized the importance of security sector reform, including the restructuring of the Malian Defense and Security Forces, and welcomed the EU’s continuing contribution to the stabilisation of Mali through its military training mission (EUTM), and regional capacity building efforts. They took note of the evolution of the political process, as well as the determination of the Malian authorities to hold elections in July 2013, and urged them to intensify dialogue leading to conciliation and restoration of state authority throughout the entire Malian territory. They reiterated their demand for the disarmament of all armed groups in Mali, including the Movement for the National Liberation of Azawad (MNLA). They stressed the importance of organizing free, fair, transparent and inclusive elections, and encouraged international partners to offer their support. They welcomed the significant commitments made at the Mali Donors’ Conference held in Brussels, on 15 May 2013. While acknowledging the on-going programmes launched by the EU, they called for honouring of the pledges made. They reiterated the imperative of close coordination among partners in pursuing their collective efforts towards resolving the crises in Mali and the Sahel.

2. On Guinea Bissau

The AUPSC and the EUPSC take note of the appointment of a new inclusive transitional government following agreement between the two major political parties in Guinea Bissau. This transitional government is expected to give priority to the preparation of democratic elections leading to restoration of constitutional order before the end of the year. The meeting welcomed the EU’s readiness to provide technical and financial support to the electoral process, once an appropriate roadmap has been adopted. The two parties stressed the need for reform of armed and security forces. They stressed the need for an effective fight against organised crime and drug trafficking and illegal fishing. They also stressed the need for protection of human rights, rule of law and an end to impunity, and underlined the high importance of the preservation and sustainable management of natural resources of Guinea Bissau, including sustainable exploitation of marine and land resources. They commended the joint efforts of the AU, ECOWAS, CPLP, EU and the UN for the return to constitutional order and stability in Guinea Bissau, and looked forward to the second joint assessment mission on the five Organisations to Guinea Bissau with a view to encouraging the stakeholders to fulfil all conditions for holding free, fair and transparent elections before the end of the year.

3. On Somalia

The AU PSC and EU PSC welcomed the progress made in Somalia since the completion of the Transitional period in August 2012, including the establishment of the Somali Federal Parliament, the endorsement of the Provisional Federal Constitution, the election of the President by the Federal Parliament, the appointment of the Prime Minister and the formation of the Somali Federal Government (SFG). The two parties stressed the need for progress in the dialogue and reconciliation process between Somali stakeholders aiming at establishing regional authorities in Somalia. AUPSC and EUPSC however expressed concern about the resumption of fighting between adverse factions in Kismayo, and urged all those involved to resolve the political stalemate through an inclusive dialogue, led by the SFG, with the support of the AU and IGAD, to advance the federal structure of the country. The meeting commended the SFG and the Somaliland region for their engagement and called for its active continuation.

The AUPSC and EUPSC praised the crucial role of AMISOM in ensuring stabilization in Somalia, allowing the political process to unfold. They acknowledged the need for AMISOM to continue its work with an enhanced logistical and force enablers’ capacity to face the new security challenges. AUPSC and EUPSC noted the important role of EUTM in training future Somali military staff, as well as that of EUNAVFOR ATALANTA in countering piracy and of EUCAP NESTOR in supporting maritime security. Furthermore, they welcomed the deployment of the new UN Mission to Somalia and the appointment of the new UN SRSG for the Mission. They stressed the need for close coordination and cooperation between the new UN Mission and AMISOM for the smooth implementation of their respective mandates, for the benefit of peace, security and reconciliation in Somalia.

The AUPSC and EUPSC commended the AU and IGAD joint efforts in Somalia, supported by the international community. In this respect, they welcomed the outcome of the London International Conference on Somalia, held on 7 May 2013, and looked forward to the Brussels Conference that aims at endorsement of Somalia’s political reconstruction plan under the framework of a New Deal Transition Compact.

4. On Sudan and South Sudan

he AUPSC and the EUPSC expressed concern about the recent resurgence of tension between Sudan and South Sudan, which is threatening the crucial agreements signed in September 2012. AUPSC and EUPSC underlined the serious consequences an oil shutdown would have on the viability of the two states, the relations between them and the wider region. They stressed the importance of strict and timely implementation of all agreements signed between the two countries as the only way to eventually normalize relations between the two countries, for the benefit of their populations. The meeting urged Sudan and South Sudan to address any complaints or grievances about security concerns through the bilaterally agreed mechanisms. The two parties expressed unwavering support to the AU High-Level Implementation Panel, as well as the appreciation for the work being done by the AUHIP in facilitating negotiations and for its intervention helping to find solutions to defuse the recent tension between the two countries. They also commended the efforts of IGAD and the AU in supporting the Parties.

They called upon Sudan and South Sudan to resume discussions also with a view to reaching agreement on the establishment of the Abyei temporary institutions, as well as agreement on the resolution of the final status of Abyei. The AUPSC and the EUPSC also called on the Parties to address the issue of disputed and claimed border areas, recognizing that this can provide an important platform for cross-border cooperation in the framework of soft borders and regional cooperation and integration. The AUPSC and EUPSC remain concerned about the acute humanitarian situation in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile and called for measures to be taken to address the situation. They welcomed the recent launching of direct talks between the Government of Sudan and SPLM-N, and urged the parties to continue their direct negotiations in order to reach a comprehensive resolution. The AUPSC and EUPSC welcomed the initiative of the AUPSC in undertaking a field mission to Darfur from 17 – 19 March 2013, in the spirit of adding momentum to the peace efforts in Darfur.

5. On Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Great Lakes Region

The meeting expressed concern at the unstable security situation in eastern DRC, particularly in North Kivu, and welcomed the renewed mandate of MONUSCO, which now includes the Intervention Brigade, an innovative joint operation by UN /AU-SADC-ICGLR. The deployment of the Intervention Brigade is expected to improve the situation in the region. In this context, the AU PSC and EU PSC commended the Troop Contributing Countries to the Intervention Brigade, namely, Tanzania, South Africa and Malawi. The two Parties agreed that only an inclusive political solution will bring peace and development to the population after a long period of instability. They welcomed the Framework Agreement for Peace, Security and Cooperation in DRC and the Region signed in Addis Ababa, on 24 February 2013 and called for its full implementation. In this regard, the AUPSC and EUPSC welcomed the first meeting of the Regional Oversight Mechanism of the Framework Agreement, held in Addis Ababa, on 26 May 2013. They also welcomed the AU PSC field mission to the DRC undertaken from 11 to 14 May 2013.

The EUPSC and AUPSC called on all parties to ensure respect for human rights, as well as an effective fight against impunity in the region. They expressed concern about the lack of progress in the DRC-M23 negotiations in Kampala, and urged the two Parties to return to the negotiating table, with a view to reaching an agreement.

6. On the Central African Republic (CAR)

The AUPSC and EUPSC expressed deep concern about the security, humanitarian and human rights situation in CAR. The AUPSC and EUPSC reiterated the call for all actors involved to abide by the Libreville Agreements signed in January 2013 and by the subsequent ECCAS N’Djamena Declaration. They called for the reestablishment of public order and security, as the prerequisite for the successful conduct of the transition and for provision of assistance to the needy populations. They underlined the need for the reinstatement of CAR institutions and their effective functioning as a crucial element in preparation of the presidential and legislative elections planned at the end of the 18 month transitional period. They agreed on the necessity for a strengthened peace support operation mission to ensure security and protection of civilians in CAR.

The AUPSC and EUPSC took note of the decision of CAR authorities to allow continuation of the activities of the Regional Cooperation Initiative for the Elimination of the Lord’s Resistance Army, including allowing operations of the contributing foreign Armed Forces.

7. On the Regional Cooperation Initiative for the Elimination of the Lord’s Resistance Army

The AUPSC and the EUPSC deplored the on-going atrocities being committed by the LRA and reaffirmed their support for the UN-AU strategy to eliminate the threat from the LRA, including the AU-Regional Cooperation Initiative. They welcomed the recent progress made in implementing the Regional Cooperation Initiative and in particular, the adoption of the Concept of Operations, the formal incorporation of the military contingents and the establishment of the Headquarters in Yambio, South Sudan.

The AUPSC and EUPSC welcomed the efforts of AU Special Envoy for the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) for the results achieved so far, and called for continued close coordination and cooperation among all stakeholders involved to achieve a smooth implementation of the Initiative.

They agreed to continue to maintain close consultation and cooperation on all these issues.

The two Parties agreed to meet in Brussels, in 2014.

– See more at: http://www.peaceau.org/en/article/6th-annual-joint-consultative-meeting-between-the-african-union-peace-and-security-aupsc-and-the-european-union-political-and-security-committee-eupsc#sthash.QcDh6FaF.dpuf

Source: APO

Jun 112013
 

BAMAKO, Mali, June 11, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved a disbursement of an amount equivalent to SDR 10 million (about US$15.1 million) for Mali under the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF). The disbursement will help the authorities meet their urgent balance-of-payments need, and support their economic program in 2013 and re-engagement with donors during the transition toward a new elected government.

The RCF provides rapid concessional financial assistance with limited conditionality to low-income countries facing an urgent balance of payments need.

Following the Executive Board’s discussion of Mali, Mr. Min Zhu, Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chair, stated:

Mali’s economy is emerging from a recession caused by the security and political crisis in 2012. The adoption of the road map toward presidential and parliamentary elections in July, the restoration of government control over the full territory with the help of foreign military intervention, and the return of donor support are helping set the stage for a resumption of growth. However, the economic situation remains fragile and fraught with risks.

€œThe Malian authorities deserve praise for their skillful management of the economy under very difficult circumstances. The government’s fiscal prudence has helped maintain broad economic stability. With the announcement of significant international financial support for Mali at the recent donor conference in Brussels, the challenge will be to ensure effective deployment of these additional resources in line with the country’s near and medium-term priorities of peace consolidation and development.

Strengthening public financial management is essential for sustained economic and fiscal stability. The steps taken to strengthen cooperation and information exchange between the tax, customs, and procurement administrations will help improve tax auditing and bolster tax revenue over time. The clearance of all outstanding external and domestic arrears by year-end will support the recovery. Going forward, enhanced expenditure controls and cash management will be necessary to avoid the reemergence of payment arrears.

The ongoing energy sector reform is expected to alleviate the fiscal burden, and boost growth and poverty reduction. The authorities need to secure public support for the reform through open and transparent communications and targeted measures to protect the poor.€

Source: APO

Suggested Book
Assessing Developments in Mali: Restoring Democracy and Reclaiming the North

Jun 102013
 

Statement by the spokesperson of EU High Representative Catherine Ashton on the developments in northern Mali

BRUSSELS, Kingdom of Belgium, June 10, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The spokesperson of Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the Commission, issued the following statement today:

“The High Representative is concerned about the military developments that have taken place in the village of Anefis in northern Mali.

She calls on all armed persons to exercise restraint in order not to jeopardise the promising dialogue between the Government of Mali and the representatives of the non-terrorist and non-criminal armed groups which have recognised the unity and territorial integrity of Mali.

She stresses that only dialogue can create the conditions for lasting peace in Mali. In this context, the EU calls for a rapid conclusion of the Ouagadougou discussions and reiterates its determination to support the re-establishment of the State administration throughout the territory of Mali and the forthcoming holding of elections, including in the Kidal region and in refugee camps.

Furthermore, the High Representative has noted with the utmost concern the allegations of violence against civilian populations, including racial violence. All these allegations will have to be investigated and appropriate action taken. In this context, the EU offers its support to the deployment of civilian human rights observers and encourages their prompt deployment in northern Mali, including in the Kidal region.”

Source: APO

May 252013
 

The Dogon people of Mali have intrigued anthropologists and people interested in culture for a very long time. You’ll find a lot of curious literature about them. Some of it seems very far fetched and sensationalised, but the more that is found out about this people group the more intriguing it seems. I was in Mali at a time when there was a detailed language survey going on in Dogon villages and it really did seem that every village spoke a different language! It certainly gives mother tongue education a headache as decisions about which language/dialect to use in schools are very difficult.

A survey of Dogon languages in Mali: overview – Roger Blench, Mallam Dendo Ltd Cambridge, UK

This summary paper of Dogon languages is published in the Foundation for Endangered languages Issue 26 and is very detailed.

The languages spoken on the Dogon Plateau and adjacent areas in northern Mali are generally known to outsiders as Dogon, but this term is not used by individual groups. For a long time, research on the Dogon was dominated by the work of Marcel Griaule and his successors, which focused on a very specific group, the Dogon of Sangha. Bertho published short comparative wordlists of some Dogon lects but these made little impression. Calame-Griaule (1956) published a dialect map of Dogon, the relationship between the named communities and the Tr-S represented in her dictionary (Calame-Griaule 1968) remained unclear in the absence of data. Until recently, Dogon was treated in reference books as if it were a single language (e.g. Bendor-Samuel et al. 1989), but Hochstetler et al. (2004) estimated there are no less than 17 languages under the Dogon rubric and that the family is highly internally divided.

Read the full article

You may also be interested in the Sociolinguistic Survey of the Dogon Area (PDF) by Hochstetler et al.

Suggested Book

May 252013
 

Medina Coura market (Excerpt from an old diary)

Looking back at my old Mali diaries I found a post about shopping in Bamako.

I’ve just got back from market. So what you might say. I enjoy going but I find it exhausting. I think it is just the press of people mostly.

We went to Medina Coura market right across town. To get there we have to cross the new bridge across the Niger into the city of Bamako. We then fight our way through the intense traffic right to the other side of town and drive down the main market street avoiding donkey carts, pus pus (wheelbarrows) and people. The next question is ‘where to park?’. We have to drive a long way down a side street, do a three-point turn and then try and squeeze onto the side of the road. For once there were no 10 or 11 year old boys waiting to ‘guard’ the car. So we leave it there and hope for the best. The next problem is crossing the road. We weave in and out of stationary and not so stationary cars and motorbikes and arrive on the outskirts of one of the biggest markets in town.

Medina Coura market is a bit like an iceberg. The bit you see from the street is just the tip – it goes for what seems like kilometres back from the road with windy passageways between the myriad stores. It is built on the natural rock so walking through is quite hazardous. The stalls we want to go to are right in the middle of the market in the area where little natural light penetrates. A group of women run a cooperative – dying and selling ‘bazan’ cloth. This is white damask which is dyed often using batik or a lost wax process. I always try and buy my cloth from these ladies. First we get waylaid because I spot a rather nice looking jewellery stall. This is costume jewellery not fine jewellery but it ‘looks’ like gold and seems to be well made. I want some finery for a celebration party this week when my government department finally moves into their new building. While we were at the jewellery stall a young lad sidled up to us with a large carrier bag. It used to be cardboard boxes but now it’s plastic bags. He was offering to carry my goods for me as I bought things in the market. We employed him. I found my ladies and we got some nice material for not bad prices. Then we started the long trek back to the car. On the way I bought a very large brown plasic wash bowl. I have this idea of creating an oasis on my back veranda and I want it to make a fountain with. Perhaps I’ll write more on that another time!

Finally in major contrast to the market we went to a large supermarket in town. This one has caused a certain level of culture shock recently. They have just finished renovations and it is now a two floor supermarket with an underground parking lot. WOW! It has also expanded the things you can buy there – at a price.

(Pages from my old diaries)

Suggested Book
Mali, 3rd (Bradt Travel Guide)

May 242013
 

AFISMA Head of Mission visits Timbuktu and reiterates the need for dialogue and reconciliation in Mali

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, May 24, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Special Representative of the Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union (AU) and Head of the African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA), former President Pierre Buyoya, has emphasized the importance of intra-communal and inter-community dialogue, as part of the search for a sustainable solution to the multi-dimensional crisis in Mali.

 

The Special Representative made this emphasis while addressing local government officials, community elders and religious and cultural leaders in the northern Malian town of Timbuktu, on 23 May 2013, during an official visit to the town. He encouraged the various communities in the region to participate in the national dialogue and reconciliation process that was recently launched by the Malian Government. “Forgetting what happened here may be difficult. However, dialogue, forgiveness and reconciliation are indispensable to enable this beautiful community to rebuild and move on”, he said.

 

The local leaders told the Special Representative that life was gradually returning to normal in Timbuktu, following the liberation of the town a few weeks ago. They thanked AFISMA for deploying African troops, from Burkina Faso, to take over from French forces and support the Malian forces in providing security for the Timbuktu region, which covers 40 per cent of the surface area of Mali, with a pre-crisis population of 700.000 people.

 

“We were initially nervous when we heard that France was withdrawing its forces from Timbuktu. However, since the arrival of the Burkinabe troops last month, our fears have been dissipated. They have done a remarkable job and we are pleased to have them in our midst”, the local leaders told the Special Representative.

 

Addressing the AFISMA troops, at their base at the Timbuktu international airport, President Buyoya reiterated that AFISMA is in Mali to help liberate a fellow African country from armed extremists and narco-terrorists; support Mali in consolidating its national unity and re-asserting state authority throughout its territory; as well as to encourage and support the country in its return to democratic dispensation. He commended the troops for their exemplary conduct and urged them to continue discharging their duties with perseverance, dedication and professionalism, despite the challenging geographic and logistical conditions under which they are operating. The imminent transformation of AFISMA into a United Nations multidimensional stabilization Mission, he added, will help alleviate some of the logistical problems faced by the troops.

The Special Representative and the troops observed a minute of silence in honor of Brigadier General Yaye Garba, the AFISMA Deputy Force Commander, who died in Bamako, Mali, on 11 May 2013, and was buried in his home country, Niger, on 18 May 2013.

 

Before returning to Bamako, President Buyoya and his delegation also visited the Djingarei-Ber Grand Mosque, which was built in the early 14th century, and saw the damage inflicted on priceless historical cultural and religious sites by the violent extremists and terrorists during their one-year ruthless occupation of Northern Mali.

Source: APO

May 172013
 

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, May 17, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU), at its 376thmeeting held on 16May 2013, was briefed by the Commissioner for Peace and Security on the latest developments in the situation in Mali. Council further took note of the statements made by the Commissioner for Political Affairs, the representatives of Mali, Burkina Faso, Rwanda, the United Nations (UN), the European Union (EU) and the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF), as well as by the representatives of France, United Kingdom and the United States, in their capacity as permanent members of the UN Security Council.

 

Council conveyed its sincere condolences to the Government and the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, following the crash of a military jet which caused the death of two pilots ofthe Nigerian military personnel of the African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA), as well as to the Government and people of the Republic of Niger, following the death, on 11 May 2013, of General Yaya Garba, Deputy Force Commander of the AFISMA Force. Council reiterated its gratitude to all the troop and police contributing countries to AFISMA for their commitment and sacrifices for peace, security and stability in Mali.

 

Council welcomed the progress that continues to be made in the security and stability areas in the north of Mali, and encouraged the Malian authorities to continue, with the support of the international community, their efforts aimed at establishing the conditions conducive to the return to normalcy, as well as the repatriation and reintegration of the refugees and the internally displaced persons. Council further stressed the urgent need to pursue and intensify humanitarian assistance to the affected populations.

 

Council reaffirmed its demand for the unconditional disarmament of all the non-state entities in Mali, particularly the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), and the unequivocal affirmation by this group of its acceptance to respect the unity and territorial integrity of Mali, as a prerequisite for its participation in the political process. In this regard, Council welcomed the ongoing initiatives under the leadership of the High Representative of the AU for Mali and the Sahel and Head of the AFISMA, former President Pierre Buyoya of Burundi, in order to find, in consultation with the Mediator of ECOWAS, President Blaise Compaoré of Burkina Faso and in cooperation with the UN, the EU and other partners, a peaceful solution to the issue of the effective restoration of administration and the Malian Defence and Security Forces in Kidal.

 

Council took note of the progress made in the implementation by the Malian authorities of the Roadmap of the Transition. In this regard, Council welcomed the regular consultations between the Dialogue and Reconciliation Commission (CDR) and the Head of AFISMA. Council reiterated its request to the Commission, in cooperation with ECOWAS, to help mobilize technical and financial support for the smooth functioning of the CDR.

 

Council stressed the importance of organizing free, fair andcredible elections throughout the Malian territory, in order to complete the process of restoring constitutional order and legitimacy in the country. In this regard, Council noted the strong will of the Malian authorities to organize elections in July 2013 and urged the Commission, the Member States and international partners to provide the necessary support to the electoral process in Mali.

 

Council welcomed the outcomes of the, Donors’ Conference held on 15 May 2013, in Brussels, at the initiative and the co-chairmanship of the EU, Mali and France, to support the post-conflict reconstruction and development in Mali. Council urged all the stakeholders concerned to speedily translate into deeds the important commitments made. Council encouraged the Commission to design a support programme for Mali within the framework of the African Solidarity Initiative (ASI).

 

Council took note of resolution 2100 (2013) of the UN Security Council authorizing the transformation of AFISMA into a UN operation, and reiterated the parameters defined in the communiqués of its 358thand 371stmeetings held respectively on 7 March and 25 April 2013. Council took note of the measures taken by the Commission, in cooperation with the ECOWAS Commission and in relation with the UN Secretariat, with a view to ensuring a harmonious transition from AFISMA to a UN Integrated Mission for Stabilization in Mali(MINUSMA), including the meeting which the three organizations held in Addis Ababa, on 8 and 9 May 2013. Council stressed the need for the AU and ECOWAS to cooperate closely in order to ensure a harmonious presence in Mali, with the aim of pursuing, with greater effectiveness and in cooperation with the UN and other international partners, their collective action for a lasting solution to the multidimensional crisis faced by Mali.Council requested the Commission to continue to ensure the smooth running of the deliberations of the frameworks of coordination and consultation which the AU has established within this framework.

 

 

Source: APO

May 162013
 

Spindelegger: “Working together for a new Mali” / Austria provides aid at International Donor Conference for Mali

VIENNA, Austria, May 16, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The international community has set the way ahead for the time after armed conflict in Mali. The political and security crisis in Mali has been a matter of concern for the international community since 2012. After re-establishing the unity of the state of Mali efforts have been increased since the beginning of the year to consolidate peace in the Sahel.

Austria is also providing direct emergency aid for the strengthening of state and democratic institutions. “Working together for a new Mali is what we now need to do. Austria reacted at once to the humanitarian crisis in the region and provided 3.1 million euros in emergency aid last year. We are continuing this commitment now at the International Donor Conference in Brussels”, Austrian Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger said.

 

In addition to the 1.25 million euros earmarked for Mali in 2013 (950,000 euros in humanitarian aid plus 300,000 in food aid), Austria will now be providing additional aid measures. An additional 200,000 euros will go to SOS Children’s Villages International for helping refugees and in particular for taking care of children and women. “It is always the civilian population that suffers the most in conflicts of this kind, especially the young and the weak”, Spindelegger said. “It is our obligation to support the people of Mali through this important transition phase following the ending of armed conflict.”

 

A central foundation for a sustainable peace is help in developing functional state structures. In this context Austria will provide the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) with 500,000 euros support over the next three years as a means of strengthening civil society in Mali and will thus contribute to the re-democratisation of the country. “A strong and independent civil society plays a main role in securing the rules of democracy and maintaining the principles of responsibility, transparency and good government leadership. This is a prerequisite for sustainable peace and for social reconstruction in Mali” the Vice-Chancellor said.

 

In addition to the direct aid for Mali, support for its neighbouring states such as Burkina Faso – a priority country in Austrian development work – is also of great importance. There is additional pressure on already short food resources as a result of the flow of refugees. Furthermore there is a risk of instability spreading to neighbouring countries. This is one of the main reasons for Austrian participation in the EU training mission to Mali (EUTM Mali) involving members of the Austrian army due to continue until 31 July 2014.

Source: APO

May 162013
 

BRUSSELS, Kingdom of Belgium, May 16, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — May 15, 2013

Brussels, Belgium

 

As a long-standing friend of Mali, Canada is committed to helping the people of Mali.

 

Last January, Canada responded to immediate needs with urgent, life-saving assistance.

 

We remain troubled by the situation in Mali and its potential impact on the stability of the Sahel region and beyond.

 

Canada’s Minister of International Cooperation, Julian Fantino, has outlined the conditions under which we would reinstate direct assistance to the Government of Mali.

 

We encourage the interim government to hold legitimate elections as soon as is feasibly possible

 

We maintain hope for this outcome, as it is integral for the long-term security and prosperity of the Malian people.

 

In the interim, we continue our significant humanitarian and development work with our non-governmental partners.

 

Today, I am pleased to announce that Canada will invest seventy five million dollars ($75M) to help improve access to food health services and education.

 

This development assistance complements our ongoing, life-saving humanitarian support.

 

It also builds on our announcement earlier this week of ten million dollars ($10M) to:

 

support the African-led International Support Mission until a new United Nations mission can be set up,

help restore democratic institutions in advance of planned elections in July and preserve Mali’s territorial integrity,

help the European Union-led training to help the Malian armed forces protect the basic rights of Malian civilians.

Canada will continue to play a leadership role in helping Malians build a more peaceful and prosperous country…

 

…A country where all citizens can share in the opportunities of greater stability and prosperity.

 

Thank you.

Source: APO

May 152013
 

BRUSSELS, Kingdom of Belgium, May 15, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — As a leading donor, Canada will continue to provide food and basic health services to the people of Mali. Today, Lois Brown, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation, on behalf of the Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of International Cooperation, reaffirmed Canada’s support for the people of Mali at an international donors’ conference in Brussels, Belgium.

 

As a leading donor, Canada is working to ensure that basic needs of the people of Mali are addressed, said PS Brown. “Once again, Canada has demonstrated during this conference that we remain focused on helping Malians build upon stronger ground.”

 

Canada took part in this important conference to help mobilize the support necessary to address Mali’s substantial development challenges. PS Brown announced new investments with a focus on mitigating the risk of social unrest and continuing to provide basic services in health, food security, nutrition and education. These new investments support Mali’s Sustainable Recovery Plan for 2013-2014.

 

Canada is a compassionate neighbour, said Minister Fantino. “Canada will continue to work with other donors, Canadian non-governmental organizations and multilateral organizations, such as the World Food Programme, to provide stability to the people of Mali.”

 

Today’s pledge builds on Canada’s announcement earlier this week of $10 million to:

 

support the African-led International Support Mission until a new United Nations mission can be set up;

help restore democratic institutions in advance of planned elections in July and preserve Mali’s territorial integrity; and

help the European Union-led training to help the Malian armed forces protect the basic rights of Malian civilians.

Canada is committed to helping countries like Mali. Economic Action Plan 2013 reaffirms Canada’s commitment to international development and humanitarian assistance. The new Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development will help achieve greater efficiency, accountability and focus to continue to improve the lives of people in need around the world.

Source: APO
Mali’s Conflict, the Sahel’s Crisis (World Politics Review Special Reports)