Mali: Making peace while preparing for war


Following the deadlock that lasted for several months, major steps towards the management of the crisis in Mali were taken at three main events:

  1. The high-level meeting on the Sahel, held on 26 September 2012 in the margins of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly session;
  2. The unanimous adoption of Resolution 2071 on Mali by the UN Security Council, on 12 October;
  3. The meeting in Bamako of the Support and Follow-up Group on the situation in Mali, on 19 October, convened for the purpose of discussing the draft strategic concept for the resolution of the Mali crisis, later adopted by the Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU) at its meeting in Addis Ababa on 24 October

This series of meetings firstly provided an opportunity to analyse the different aspects of the crisis, thus raising collective awareness about the threat to international peace and security posed by the Malian crisis. Secondly, it laid the groundwork for a consensus that needs to be consolidated on the outlines of the intervention mechanisms that must be put in place in order to implement the mediation efforts and military action. Finally, it highlighted, particularly during the 19 October meeting, the importance of putting Malian actors at the helm of the decision-making process and the willingness of the international actors to work with the Malian transition authorities, irrespective of the level of legitimacy they enjoy within and outside Mali.

The meetings also confirmed international engagement in Mali and reiterated what outside actors expect both from the Malian authorities, in terms of developing a roadmap for the transition, and from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), in terms of developing a realistic concept ofoperation. Nevertheless, a number of questions remain, particularly with respect to the modalities of the implementation of the planned intervention mechanisms, the mobilisation and role of the main actors involved, and the logistical and financial support for the envisaged military operation.

The following analysis and recommendations are based on field research conducted in Bamako in August 2012, follow-up telephone conversations in September and October 2012, as well as media monitoring. The purpose of this document is to present, six months after the signing of the Framework Agreement of 6 April 2012, a status report on the two main missions entrusted to the transition government and supported by regional, continental and international actors; that is, to manage the crisis in northern Mali and organise the presidential elections.

Authors: Lori-Anne Théroux-Bénoni, David Zounmenou, Awa Faye Daou and Paulin Maurice Toupane

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