President Paul Kagame has said the crisis in Mali is of concern to every African because it not only threatens the security and stability of the West African country, but also the entire region and beyond.
The President was, yesterday, speaking at the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
"Africa cannot, and should not, fold its arms when terrorist and criminal groups are occupying over half the territory of a Member State, carrying out the most atrocious crimes against innocent civilians and destroying monuments that are of great significance to Africa's heritage and civilisation," Kagame said.
The President called for total solidarity and unreserved support from the AU in order to solve the challenges facing Mali.
"It is about creating conditions for the speedy deployment of the African-led International Support Mission in Mali and sustaining its operations. AFISMA is needed more than ever before to help the Malian army complete the liberation of the northern part of the country."
"And, in so doing, the Mission will assist in creating conducive conditions for a genuine political process that would see Malians of all walks of life sit together to develop a consensus on what they need to do collectively to sustain peace, ensure security and promote unity and reconciliation in their country."
President Kagame proposed that part of the funding, up to $50m for AFISMA and the Malian Defence and Security Forces be allocated from AU arrears contributions, the Peace Fund and assessed contributions, a provision reflected in the draft solemn declaration on Mali.
The Head of State cited several examples that illustrate Africa's capability to address conflict.
"A few years ago, Comoros was seeking our help to restore its authority over Anjouan Island. We decided at an AU Summit in 2008 to mount an African force to provide the requested assistance. Sudan and Tanzania provided the troops, while other African countries contributed technical and financial support. We successfully carried out the operation, in spite of our limited means. Darfur in 2004 and Somalia since 2007, when Uganda and Burundi stepped in, are other examples of successful African endeavours, when odds seemed to be against us," he said.
President Kagame said as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, Rwanda would build on the decision taken by the AU on the draft solemn declaration on Mali to push forward a request for a UN support package funded through UN-assessed contributions.
The President said he had no doubt the Malian Head of State, Dioncounda Traor, was determined to preserve and strengthen Mali's invaluable contribution to the advancement of our continent.
President Traore earlier briefed the summit on the situation in his country.
The Congo issue
At the sidelines of the AU sessions, President Kagame along with presidents Yoweri Museveni (Uganda) and Joseph Kabila (DR Congo) held talks with the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to discuss the ongoing regional peace process on Congo.
The signing of the proposed UN framework for peace in DR Congo, which Rwanda and several other states had agreed to, was postponed to allow more time to further review the document.
President Kagame also met separately with several dignitaries at the summit, including EU Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, UN General Assembly president, Vuk JeremiÄ‡, and Amb. Donald Yamamoto, the principal deputy assistant secretary for African affairs.
At an event organised by the African Leaders Malaria Alliance in which President Kagame was represented by foreign minister Louise Mushikiwabo, Rwanda received two awards for excellence in policy as well as impact and implementation in the fight against malaria.