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Cheikh Modibo Diarra, the Transitional Prime Minister of Mali, States During a Visit to Algeria: “Algeria is a Brotherly and Friendly Country with Which We Hope to Resolve the Malian Crisis and the Sahel Issue”

Posted on the 27 June 2012 by Cdnews

Cheikh Modibo Diarra, the transitional Prime Minister of Mali, states during a visit to Algeria: “Algeria is a brotherly and friendly country with which we hope to resolve the Malian crisis and the Sahel issue”Mali’s transitional Prime Minister, Mr. Cheikh Modibo Diarra, visited Algeria last week to consult with those responsible for a possible resolution to the Malian crisis that began last March with a coup against the Toumani Touri regime. He says he is carrying a message from the Interim President of Mali, Diancounda Traoré, to the President of the Republic of Algeria, Abdelaziz Bouteflika. During his two day working visit Mr. Diarra stated that “this meeting is an opportunity for senior officials of both countries to discuss deeply the crisis in Mali”. The host of Algiers told the press that the first step of his government on resolving the issue in Mali is to consult with neighbors, brothers, and friends, including Algeria, which plays an important role in the Sahel region. Mr Cheikh Modibo Diarra met with several high-ranking Algerian officials, including President, Mr Bouteflika, Prime Minister Mr. Ahmed Ouyahia, and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr, Medelci. With these ministers and officials, Mr. Diarra conducted discussions that were particularly focused on the crisis in Mali. He said “in addition to being neighbor, Algeria is a friendly and brotherly country of Mali and will remain [so] forever.” This visit itself is an example of the close consultations between the two countries. As mentioned, discussions have concentrated upon the crisis in Mali which has only escalated since the coup of 22 March by the military junta, conducted by Captain Amadou Sanogo against the ruling regime then led by Amadou Toumani Touré. He is accused of mismanagement on the issue of the Tuaregs in northern Mali, where a movement has been initiated in the aftermath of the coup in Bamako to seize control throughout northern Azawad. In just a few days the Azawad State was claimed by the revolutionaries of the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (NMLA). Shortly thereafter, on April 5, seven Algerian diplomats were abducted in the region of Gao.  Their fate still remains unknown. They are retained with a dozen other hostages, including six French in the arid Sahel region. Discussions have been conducted recently by the NMLA delegates for their release.

Algeria has expressed, through the voice of his foreign minister, its full availability to work with stakeholders to consolidate a strong and legitimate transition in the capital city of Bamako, as well as to find a political solution to the Tuaregs issue through dialog and consultation. The foreign minister also insisted that Algeria always adopts a principle of non interference in the internal affairs of neighboring countries and emphasizes the importance of the territorial integrity of Mali.

Moreover the visit provided an opportunity for officials from both countries to discuss the overall situation in the Sahel region and the objective of strengthening bilateral relations between Algiers and Bamako.

The Sahel region currently faces many problems, particularly following the Libyan conflict and the countless other security concerns exacerbated by the presence of several terrorist groups in the area, including Al Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), and the Ansar Eddine group.  The situation in 2011 in both Libya and several other Arab countries that were shaken by the events of the Arab Spring has prompted the emergence of radical groups who want to plunge the region into chaos in order to indulge in arms and drugs trafficking.

Recently Yves Bonnet, the former Director of French Territorial Surveillance (DST), told a security conference in Algiers that Algeria is a reliable partner, and one that doesn’t underestimate the importance of resolving the conflict in Mali in order to bring peace to the region. When the crisis began, the deposed president Amadou Toumani Touré rejected any foreign intervention from outside of the country’s borders. Algeria must play his role as mediator as more than 23 million people are facing famine, meaning urgent aid is needed to help them.

By Mohamed Zitouni, freelance journalist


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