By Bakari Gueye
Algeria and Mauritania need to be more actively involved in helping solve the Malian crisis, Nigerien Justice Minister Marou Amadou said at a recent Dakar conference.
“The crisis in Mali cannot be resolved by side-lining Algeria and Mauritania on the pretext that their position is unclear,” Amadou said at the August 23rd seminar organised by the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA).
“It is essential to believe that the position of Algeria and the involvement of Mauritania are absolutely necessary, along with those of ECOWAS, for the Malian crisis to be resolved and stability needs to be restored in the sub-region,” he added.
The Nigerien minister said that Mali “can come out of this crisis as a government of national unity has just been created and a High Council of State will soon be established, with one of its vice-presidents to be put in charge of reforming the army”.
“Mali’s security system will be able to prepare it with the help of ECOWAS under a United Nations mandate,” he added. “We believe that Mali’s territorial integrity is not up for discussion, and neither is the separation of the state and religion. Aside from these issues, everything else can be discussed so that people can live in harmony.”
According to political analyst Daha Ould Sidi Ali, Algeria still opposes “all military intervention in Mali, and advocates a negotiated political solution instead”.
Mali could become “the Waziristan of the Sahel”, said Modibo Goita, who teaches at the Ecole de Maintien de la Paix in Bamako. “This can only be prevented if the states in the region actively take joint measures,” Goita told El Watan on August 29th.
“The solution to the crisis lies with Algeria,” he said.
“It should be noted that the NMLA, which seemed to be in control on the ground, and Ansar al-Din have expressed a preference for Mauritania and the president of Burkina Faso as mediators. However, it has to be accepted that any lasting negotiated solution must involve Algeria, which by virtue of its position and importance is still key to the success of efforts to find a lasting solution, as has been acknowledged by the Foreign Minister of Burkina Faso Djibril Bassole,” he said.
“It will therefore be the job of the new head of state to give Algeria further assurances,” Goita underlined.
Meanwhile, Algerian Foreign Minister Mourad Medelci insisted that the solution “lies in the hands of Malians”.
They “can rely on the help of the countries in the region and the AU (African Union) if necessary”, according to Medelci. The minister also underlined that “a military solution is not the right one” and called for “a political solution and dialogue”.
Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz in July said that Mali’s future is “intertwined” with that of his country.
“With the arrival of terrorist groups in the north of Mali, for a decade, Mauritania has suffered tragic attacks on its security and sovereignty,” he said.