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Communiqué of the 371st PSC Meeting on the situation in Mali

By African Union Commission (AUC)
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ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, April 26, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU), at its 371st meeting held on 25 April 2013, adopted the following decision on the situation in Mali:

Council,

Takes note of the briefing made by the Commissioner for Peace and Security on the latest developments in the situation in Mali, as well as of the statements made by the representatives of Mali, Algeria, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, the Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the European Union (EU) and the United Nations. Council also takes note of the statements made by the representatives of France, Rwanda, United Kingdom and the United States, in their capacity as members of the United Nations Security Council;

Welcomes the progress that continues to be recorded in the resolution of the multidimensional crisis facing Mali and the continued mobilization of the international community in support of this country. In this regard, Council welcomes the holding in Bamako, on 19 April 2013, of the 4th meeting of the Support and Follow-up Group on the situation in Mali, and endorses the conclusions of this important meeting;

Notes with satisfaction the continued progress in securing and stabilizing the northern part of Mali. Council encourages the Malian authorities to accelerate the redeployment of administration in the liberated territories, as well as the rehabilitation of basic infrastructure, to create an environment conducive to a return to normalcy and the repatriation and resettlement of refugees and displaced persons. Council reiterates the urgent need for continued and enhanced humanitarian assistance to the affected populations;

Reaffirms its demand for the unconditional disarmament of all non-state armed groups in Mali, in particular, the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), and a clear commitment by this group to the respect of the unity and territorial integrity of Mali, as a condition for its participation in the political process. Council also stresses the need for the deployment of the army and Malian administration in Kidal and all other locations where such a process has not yet been completed. Council expresses full support to the initiative of the Support and Follow-up Group requesting the AU, ECOWAS, the UN and the EU, under the leadership of the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the Commission and Head of AFISMA, former President Pierre Buyoya, to find an early solution to the worrying situation in Kidal;

Urges all Malian stakeholders to scrupulously respect human rights and International Humanitarian Law. Council welcomes the deployment of the first group of AU and ECOWAS human rights observers, and encourages both organizations to speedily complete the deployment in Mali of all the planned 50 observers;

Reaffirms its support for the transitional authorities. Council notes with satisfaction the progress made by the Malian authorities regarding the implementation of the Roadmap for the Transition, particularly the establishment of the Dialogue and Reconciliation Commission (CDR) and the appointment of all its members. Council urges the Malian Government to take the necessary measures to enable the CDR to commence its work as soon as possible. Council requests the Commission, in collaboration with ECOWAS, to assist in the mobilization of technical and financial support for the CDR;

Takes note of the stated commitment of the Malian transitional authorities to hold elections in July 2013 and commends the Malian Government for its efforts in this regard. Council stresses the need to take all necessary measures to ensure the credibility of the electoral process and its results, in order to avoid a post-election crisis that could jeopardize the progress made. Council requests the Commission to swiftly take steps to support the electoral process and to dispatch, as soon as possible, an electoral observation mission to Mali. Council also encourages the Panel of the Wise to undertake an assessment mission ahead of the elections;

Commends the Commission for organizing in Nouakchott, on 17 March 2013, as a follow-up to the communiqué adopted at its 353rd meeting, held in Addis Ababa, on 25 January 2013, the ministerial meeting on strengthening security cooperation and operationalizing the African Peace and Security Architecture in the Sahelo-Saharan region, which, among other things, resulted in the adoption of measures to facilitate the implementation of the mandate of the AFISMA. Council also welcomes the holding in Bamako, on 18 April 2013, as a follow-up to the conclusions of the Nouakchott meeting, of the first meeting of the Heads of the Intelligence Services of the Sahelo-Saharan region. Council encourages the Commission to continue and intensify the efforts it has initiated, with the support of the African Centre for Study and Research on Terrorism (ACSRT) and the Committee of Intelligence and Security Services in Africa (CISSA);

Recalls communiqué PSC/PR/COMM.(CCCLVIII) adopted at its 358th meeting held on 7 March 2013, in which it expressed its support for the transformation of AFISMA into a UN operation and outlined parameters that should be taken into account to ensure the success of this process and the successful implementation of the mandate of the envisaged UN Mission. Council welcomes the initiatives taken in follow-up to the relevant paragraphs of its above-mentioned communiqué, including various communications sent to the United Nations Secretary General, as well as the joint letter of the Chairperson of the AU Commission and the President of the ECOWAS Commission to the President of the UN Security Council. In this regard, Council stresses that any lasting solution to the crisis in Mali imperatively requires a strong involvement of Africa and a close collaboration and coordination between African organizations, including the AU and ECOWAS, as well as the core countries, and international partners, in particular the United Nations. Council recalls the relevance of the parameters set out in its communiqué of 7 March 2013;

Notes with concern that Africa was not appropriately consulted in the drafting and consultation process that led to the adoption of the UN Security Council resolution authorizing the deployment of a UN Multidimensional Integrated Mission for Stabilization in Mali (MINUSMA) to take over AFISMA, and stresses that this situation is not in consonance with the spirit of partnership that the AU and the United Nations have been striving to promote for many years, on the basis of the provisions of Chapter VIII of the UN Charter. Council further notes that the resolution does not adequately take into account the foundation laid by the African stakeholders, which led to the launching of the process towards the return to constitutional order, the initiation of the ECOWAS-led mediation, the adoption of the transitional roadmap and the mobilization of the support of the international community through the Support and Follow-up Group on the situation in Mali. Council also notes that the resolution does not take into account the concerns formally expressed by the AU and ECOWAS and the proposals they constructively made to facilitate a coordinated international support for the ongoing efforts by the Malian stakeholders;

Expresses its gratitude to President Alassane Dramane Ouattara of Côte d'Ivoire, current Chairman of ECOWAS, as well as to Presidents Blaise Compaoré of Burkina Faso and Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria, ECOWAS Mediator and Associate Mediator in the Malian crisis, respectively, for their commitment to the search for a lasting solution in Mali, and encourages them to pursue their efforts;

Reiterates its appreciation to AFISMA's troop and police contributing countries, and extends its condolences to the Government of the Republic of Chad following the losses sustained by its contingent;

Pays tribute to the Special Representative and Head of AFISMA, former President Pierre Buyoya, his Deputy, Ambassador Cheaka Touré, the Force Commander, General Abdul Qadir, and the Head of the Mission's police component, General Jean-Baptiste Tine, as well as to all the civilian and military personnel of the Mission, for their hard work and outstanding contribution to the promotion of peace, security and reconciliation in Mali. Council expresses full support to the relevant request made by the Chairperson of the Commission for due consideration to be given to the appointment of former President Pierre Buyoya, as the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and Head of MINUSMA. Council also makes a strong appeal for the MINUSMA Force Commander and Police Commissioner to be African nationals, to ensure the much-needed continuity and efficiency;

Reiterates the imperative of continued African solidarity with Mali and the importance of African action for the lasting resolution of the crisis in Mali, and requests the Chairperson of the Commission, as well as ECOWAS and the President of its Commission, to continue to play their rightful role in support of Mali, including with regard to the political process, dialogue and national reconciliation, elections and mobilization, in coordination with the United Nations Secretary-General, of the support of the international community, through the Support and Follow-up Group;

Requests the Chairperson of the Commission to finalize, in consultation with the Government of Mali, as well as in consultation with ECOWAS and the United Nations, in their capacity as co-chairs of the Support and Follow-up Group on the situation in Mali, the convening and holding of the 5th meeting of the Group in Bamako, next June;

Further requests the Chairperson of the Commission, in consultation with the President of the ECOWAS Commission, to take the necessary steps for the convening of a lessons learnt exercise on the African role in the resolution of the Malian crisis, with a view to reinforcing future coordination and facilitating the operationalization, in due course, of the joint AU-ECOWAS office in Mali. In this regard, Council also requests the Chairperson of the Commission, in consultation with the ECOWAS Commission and the Malian authorities, to submit to it, within two months, a report on the modalities of further and continuing engagement of the two organizations, including options for enhanced coordination and collaboration on the situation in Mali, upon the transformation of AFISMA into MINUSMA;

Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.