In recent years, Mali has been confronted to a profound crisis with serious political, security, socio-economic, humanitarian, and human rights consequences.
In mid-January 2012, a Tuareg movement known as the Mouvement national pour la libération de l’Azawad (MNLA) initiated a series of attacks against government forces in the north of the country.
This rebellion was followed by attacks led by various Islamists armed groups, including the Mouvement pour l’unicité et le jihad en Afrique de l’Ouest (MUJAO) and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), which was responsible for the abduction and the killing of many French nationals in the Sahel. The Islamic groups eventually took control of the north of the country.
On 22 March 2012, a few days before the presidential elections, a mutiny formed by disaffected soldiers from the units defeated by the armed groups in the north resulted in a military coup d’état and in the overthrow of President Amadou Toumani Touré. The coup accelerated the collapse of the state in the north.
The peace negotiations between the government and the non-terrorist rebel groups were led by Algeria with the support of the international community and especially of the United Nations at the request of the Malian authorities.
At a political level, France fully supported the Algiers peace talks. They were meant to enable Mali to achieve a lasting peace and thus represented a historic opportunity for the country.
At the conclusion of the peace talks, a draft peace agreement was signed on 15 May 2015 by the Malian authorities and the groups of the Platform. The rebel groups of the Coordination eventually signed the agreement on 20 June 2015: the peace negotiations were completed.
The resulting agreement has now to be implemented. France welcomed the signing of the agreement by the rebel groups of the Coordination and ensured that it will support Mali in its effort to implement the peace agreement.
At the United Nations, France spearheaded efforts to assist Mali and has worked particularly hard to see a number of resolutions passed, including resolution 2100 on 25 April 2013 on the creation of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).
The Security Council entrusted the MINUSMA with the mandate of supporting the implementation of the Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in Mali, through resolution 2227 unanimously adopted on 29 June 2015.
The MINUSMA has now to oversee the implementation of the ceasefire, but also to support the application of the agreement’s provisions aiming at establishing security and defense in Mali. The Security Council thus decided to send 40 military observers to the MINUSMA to supervise the implementation of the ceasefire.
The Council also decided that sanctions could be imposed on those who violated the ceasefire, obstructed to the peace agreement’s implementation or attacked the MINUSMA.
France launched Operation Serval on 11 January 2013 at the request of the Malian government as well as by virtue of the Security Council resolution 2085 adopted on 20 December 2012. This operation alongside the Malian and African forces aimed at chasing out terrorists of the north of the country.
With resolution 2100 adopted on 25 April 2013, the French forces have also been mandated by the Security Council to intervene in support of the MINUSMA when this one is under imminent and serious threat. This mandate was renewed with resolutions 2164 of 25 June 2014 and 2227 of 29 June 2015.
Operation Barkhane was launched to come after Operation Serval on 1st August 2014 to help five Sahelian States (Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Chad,and Mauritania) in their effort to fight and defeat terrorism. For the last year, the French troops managed to neutralize almost 200 terrorists in the region.
Mopti - 2 February 2014
Photo MINUSMA/Marco Dormino