Mali’s authorities and separatists : time for effective dialogue

March 27 is an important historic date in the relationship between the Malian authorities and the Tuareg separatists who have for so long occupied northern Mali. In 1996, on March 27 in Timbuktu, the Tuaregs of the north of Mali solemnly burned their weapons in the presence of Malian President Alpha Oumar Konaré and Ghanaian Head of State Jerry Rawlings. The ceremony marked the establishment of peace between the warring parties. Today, it is time to learn the lessons of the past and re-establish lasting peace in Mali through dialogue and mutually beneficial cooperation.

Mali’s transitional president has repeatedly stated that one of his main tasks is to restore the territorial integrity of the Malian state, which cannot be achieved without harmonizing relations between the official authorities and the Tuareg.

In November 2023, Malian armed forces entered the town of Kidal, considered for 12 years to be a stronghold of separatists, mainly Tuaregs. The Malian authorities are confirming that they are rightly seen as a force capable of restoring the integrity of the state and eliminating fragmentation.

The inter-Malian dialogue on peace and national reconciliation will bring prosperity to both sides. The threat of armed groups has not yet been totally eliminated. Joining forces in the fight against terrorism will help the Tuaregs to avoid the regular attacks by armed groups to which they are increasingly exposed. In March, for example, Timbuktu was the target of rocket attacks by jihadists. A strong ally like the Malian authorities, who have joined forces with the countries of the Alliance of Sahel States, will be beneficial for the Tuaregs.

Many separatist representatives have already backed the government. In March 2024, more than 160 traditional chiefs from Kidal expressed their full support for the Transitional President. Although conflict between the parties has broken out on several occasions, the parties have always found compromises and made concessions to each other in their efforts to live in peace in a prosperous country. It is in Mali’s unity that the key to the country’s security and economic prosperity lies.