The peace and reconciliation agreement in Mali was concluded in Algiers in 2015. We are meeting today to assess its implementation and highlight the crucial role played on the ground by the United Nations Integrated Mission for Multidimensional Stabilization in Mali (MINUSMA). The agreement involves all parties involved in the search for a settlement of the conflict. The peacekeeping mission to support the process and other security forces deployed in the country to support stabilization and development efforts are two key elements of the peace process in Mali. Last June, Mali`s National Assembly adopted the text of a new “law of national understanding” aimed at healing the wounds that were emerging in the country. The law is supposed to fulfill the mandate of the agreement on peace and reconciliation in Mali, signed in Algiers in 2015 to settle the conflict that had erupted three years earlier with the Tuareg rebellion. Mali`s president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, proposed the law at the end of 2017. Prime Minister Soumeylou Boubéye Maiga guided him through Parliament. Given Keita`s re-election as president in August and Maiga`s re-election as prime minister, it is likely that the law will remain an important part of the government`s reconciliation plans. Moreover, stability in northern Mali is paradoxically linked to the CMA`s position of strength. Since 2015, violations of the peace agreement have pitted armed groups in two coalitions (not the Malian state) against political rivalries between strongmen of different Tuareg tribes or clashes between traffickers. The platform – the coalition of pro-Bamako movements – has weakened since 2017, and many factions have split to join their rival, the CMA. Skirmishes are again rare in northern Mali.
Although the three parties signed the agreement in 2015, the diminishing power of the platform has now led the CMA against the government. In the longer term, the failure to implement the agreement could be a pretext for the CMA, currently in a strong position in the north of the country, to relaunch its quest for autonomy. The government, coordination and platform seem to have taken on a positive new dynamic. This began on the eve of the 17th session of the Monitoring Committee on 2 May, when some government ministers met with representatives of armed groups and decided to establish an informal technical and political committee under the auspices of the President`s High Representative for the Implementation of the Agreement, Mahamadou Diagouraga. The purpose of this committee is to expedite the implementation of periods between monthly follow-up committee meetings, when it is usually down. A new timetable for implementation could be useful, as could the creation of a permanent consultation framework, as adopted at the Council of Ministers meeting on 10 February. The political authority responsible for implementing the agreement must be invested with more power. The president of the country or, if not the Prime Minister, should be directly involved and support that authority, because these figures are the only ones that can give orders to technical ministries and settle disputes. The creation of the President`s High Representative in 2016 to implement the agreement was a step in the right direction, but the person chosen for the position never had the political influence or support to impose his views on a government that is often not ready to implement the agreement. The Ministry of Social Cohesion, Peace and National Reconciliation, currently the government body responsible for this portfolio, has not been successful. In order to strengthen trust and cooperation between the MOC and the people of Gao and Timbuktu, Interpeace and its local partner in Mali, the Malian Institute for Action for Peace Research (IMRAP), supported the creation of a framework for cooperation between the MOC and the civilian population.