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AFISMA head of mission meets with African Ambassadors in Mali - African countries commended for their response to the Malian crisis

By African Union Commission (AUC)
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ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, April 11, 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 commended African countries for deploying, within two months, more than 6,000 troops in Mali, to help Mali regain its territorial integrity from terrorists and other criminal networks.

During a meeting in Bamako, on 10 April 2013, with African Ambassadors accredited to Mali, the Special Representative thanked the countries that have contributed troops and other resources to AFISMA, and pointed out that the continental response to the multidimensional crisis in Mali was a demonstration of African solidarity.

The Special Representative recalled that, at the Donors' Conference for Mali, held in Addis Ababa, in January 2013, the AU, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and individual African countries, together offered more than $100 million in cash and in kind contributions to AFISMA and the Malian Defence and Security Forces. He further recalled that AFISMA was established by the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC) and the UN Security Council in its resolution 2085. Since the arrival of the first batch of African troops in Mali, at the end of January 2013, the deployment of all the components of the Mission has progressed with remarkable success under very challenging circumstances. President Buyoya thanked the United Nations and other multilateral and bilateral partners for their continued support to AFISMA, and lauded the strategic and operational collaboration on the ground between the Commanders and the Forces of AFISMA, Mali and France.

With regard to the nature of the fight in northern Mali, the AFISMA Head of Mission stressed that the fight is not against any religious or ethnic group. “We are in Mali to help liberate our Malian brothers and sisters from terrorists and other transnational criminal networks, and to support and assist Mali in its return to democratic legitimacy. The criminals who occupied northern Mali have no respect for human life and international principles. I am pleased to note that there is an international consensus on the situation in Mali”, the Special Representative stated.

During the meeting, the AFISMA Force Commander, Major General Abdul Kadir, briefed the Ambassadors on the state of the deployment of AFISMA, the challenges facing the Mission, and the overall security situation in Mali. He further informed the Ambassadors that AFISMA troops were now present in Timbuktu, and have received a warm reception from the local population, wherever they have been deployed across the country. He urged the Malian Government to quickly restore administrative and social services in all liberated areas, to enhance public confidence. The Force Commander congratulated his troops for their exemplary conduct on the ground.

The Ambassadors thanked the AFISMA leadership for initiating the meeting and for the detailed briefing, and pledged their full support to the Mission. Countries that were represented at the meeting include Algeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Egypt, Ghana, Guinea, Libya, Niger and South Africa. Also present at the meeting was the ECOWAS Representative and AFISMA Deputy Head of Mission, Ambassador Touré Chéaka.