Mali’s junta calls for talks to address struggling peace agreement

Mali’s junta on Monday urged northern armed groups to reinitiate discussions and revive a faltering peace agreement, raising concerns of potential renewed hostilities following the withdrawal of the UN peacekeeping force.

The 2015 peace accord, known as the Algiers agreement, between the government and the Coordination of Azawad Movements (CMA), a coalition of Tuareg-led independence and autonomist factions, is teetering on the brink of collapse.

Tensions have been escalating for several months in the Sahel nation, with the CMA alleging on Monday that military aircraft had targeted their positions in the Kidal region, although no damage was reported.

However, in an official press statement, the minister overseeing the peace agreement, Colonel Major Ismael Wague, expressed his intention to “invite” the signatories to “resume discussions at the negotiation table.”

“The government remains committed to the agreement,” as well as to the ceasefire reached the previous year, he said.

Subsequently, the Malian military shared messages on social media asserting that they had engaged a faction of armed extremist groups and had effectively neutralized multiple combatants.

In the course of this year, the Malian military has conducted aerial surveillance over Kidal, a region known for its Tuareg influence, on at least two separate occasions.

According to UN experts, if the Algiers agreement were to fall apart, there’s a concern that terrorist organizations might replicate the events of 2012, alluding to the emergence of jihadist and separatist uprisings in the northern region that resulted in a significant loss of life.

The UN peacekeeping mission, referred to as MINUSMA, is scheduled to depart Mali by December 31, concluding a ten-year endeavor to enhance the nation’s security landscape in the face of separatist and jihadist uprisings.

Earlier this year, the 13,000-strong mission received orders to withdraw, in line with the directive from Mali’s governing junta, subsequent to the withdrawal of French forces in 2022.

Mali underwent a military takeover in August 2020, followed by a second in May 2021.

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