Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has congratulated the Malian parties on the adoption of a roadmap at the end of the first round of peace talks, while voicing his deep concern at the deteriorating security situation in parts of northern Mali.
“He commends participants for their willingness to engage in constructive dialogue in line with the 18 June 2013 Ouagadougou Agreement,” the Secretary-General’s spokesperson said in a statement issued last night.
The Agreement, signed in the capital of Burkina Faso last year by the Tuareg rebel groups from northern Mali and the Government, allows the Malian regular army, as well as its civil administration, to gradually return to the region of Kidal, held by rebels since 2012.
Despite initial improvements since the signing of the accord last year, the situation in northern Mali has deteriorated since the beginning of 2014, as noted by Mr. Ban in a recent report. An increase in incidents involving improvised explosive devices, mostly targeting Malian and international security forces, contributed to an overall sense of insecurity that has impeded the return to normalcy and resumption of economic and development activities.
The Secretary-General remains “deeply concerned” by the deteriorating security situation in parts of Northern Mali, including armed confrontations, his spokesperson said.
Mr. Ban called on all parties to immediately cease hostilities and to cooperate with the joint security commission – agreed on during the week-long peace negotiations that ended yesterday in Algiers – that will be led by the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). “This is essential to foster conditions favourable to the progress of the ongoing talks,” the statement noted.
Also welcoming the consensus adoption of the roadmap was the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of MINUSMA, Bert Koenders, who said it will foster a climate of trust necessary for a comprehensive and definitive agreement that will allow all communities in Mali to live in peace.
“This path on which you have committed yourself is not easy but it is the only option. By adopting a consensual roadmap, you are taking the first step in this direction,” he told the parties.
The second phase of the inter-Malian peace negotiations is set to start in mid-August.
In a related development, Mr. Ban has appointed Arnauld Antoine Akodjènou of Benin as his Deputy Special Representative for Mali. Mr. Akodjènou succeeds Abdoulaye Bathily of Senegal, who has been appointed as the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and Head of the UN Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA).