LONDON, United-Kingdom, March 4, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ -6 Foreign Secretary reiterates UK support and encourages progress towards a more inclusive political process during visit to Mali
The Foreign Secretary, William Hague, has been in the Malian capital, Bamako, today for a series of meetings focused on efforts to restore security and longer-term stability to Mali and to tackle the evolving threat of terrorism in the region. During his visit, the first by a Foreign Secretary to Mali, the Foreign Secretary underlined the UK’s commitment to continuing international efforts to support progress in Mali which should help reduce the threat of instability in other parts of North and West Africa which face similar challenges.
The Foreign Secretary reaffirmed the UK’s support to Mali in meetings with President Traore and Prime Minister Cissoko. They discussed the latest developments in Mali, including the Government’s plans to implement its political roadmap to elections and a return to full democracy. They also discussed the need for a more inclusive political process, which was underlined during the Foreign Secretary’s meeting with members of the Tuareg community.
The Foreign Secretary received an update on military progress when he met the Nigerian commander of the African-led International Support Mission to Mali (AFISMA). Earlier in the day, he met African troops from AFISMA as well as members of the UK military team supporting the C17 transport plane which has facilitated the deployment of French and African forces to Mali.
Speaking during his visit, the Foreign Secretary said:
“I am pleased to be visiting Mali at this important time. The evolving threat from terrorist groups in Mali has necessitated a urgent international response to help the Malians restore their territorial integrity and deny terrorists a safe haven in their country. I welcome the progress made by French, Malian and African military forces in the north of Mali. The UK will continue to support this tough security response, including through the EU Training Mission.
“To ensure long-term stability, it is clear there needs to be a more inclusive political process in Mali as well as work to address longer-term development needs of Mali’s people. In my meetings today, I welcomed the Malian Government’s agreement of the political roadmap towards elections and a transition to full democratic rule. I promised that the UK would work with partners in the region, the UN and the EU, to help Mali establish effective arrangements for the elections. I encouraged the Malian Government to take forward the critical task of political reconciliation with legitimate groups in the north. Progress on reconciliation will be vital for lasting stability in Mali. The UK will also of course continue to provide humanitarian assistance to the people of Mali and the region.”