ECOWAS Chiefs of Defence Staff Make New Proposals for Resolution of Mali Crisis

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Photo: WFP/Justin Smith
Food has become increasingly scarce in northern Mali.

Mali - Bamako — The ECOWAS Committee of Chiefs of Defence Staff (CCDS) ended its emergency meeting in Bamako, on 14th August 2012, with new proposals for the resolution of the crisis in Mali, including the dispatch of a high-level delegation to neighbouring Algeria and Mauritania with a view to facilitating the deployment of the ECOWAS Mission in Mali (MICEMA). The meeting also urged ECOWAS and the Government of Mali to launch a massive media campaign to help raise the awareness of the Malian population on the deployment.

The meeting resulted in a convergence of views by ECOWAS and the Malian authorities on the first Phase of the MICEMA mission, namely to provide security for the authorities and transition institutions. Mali's Chief of General Staff, Colonel Ibrahima Dahirou Dembele welcomed the meeting's decisions, including the harmonization of ECOWAS and Malian positions on Phases 2 and 3 of the MICEMA mission. This will involve the contribution of MICEMA to capacity building of Malian defence and security forces by reorganizing and training them, as well as supporting the forces to retake Northern Mali currently occupied by Islamist rebel group.

Colonel Dembele affirmed that "Malian troops will be the vanguard of Phase 3, since no one else will execute the war on their behalf," adding that other MICENA forces will bring the necessary support. The Special Representative of the President of ECOWAS Commission in Mali, Mr. Aboudou Toure Cheaka, welcomed the outcome of the final planning for MICEMA deployment and the substantial progress recorded.

In her remarks, the ECOWAS for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Mrs. Salamatu Hussaini Suleiman, congratulated the CCDS on the progress made in the planning, and also thanked the Malian authorities for their collaboration. She commended the political will of the Malian government and military authorities and urged them to cooperate fully with the ECOWAS Stand-by Force for a speedy restoration of the country's territorial integrity. A CCDS' delegation later paid a courtesy visit on Mali's Interim President Dioncounda Traore, to present with the outcome of the emergency meeting. Mr. Traore expressed his gratitude to ECOWAS Member States for all their support to Mali.

"The situation in Northern Mali poses a threat not only to our country, but also to the sub-region, Africa, as well as to world peace and security, due to the presence of terrorists in the region," he added. The interim President also assured the CCDS' delegation of Mali's determination to regain its unity, adding that the newly appointed Prime Minister will after the formation of a new government, make a formal request for assistance to ECOWAS in resolving its present security challenge.

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