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Dakar/Brussels, 11 April 2013: Mali and its international partners need to seize the moment for national dialogue to forestall renewed political and security crises.
Mali: Security, Dialogue and Meaningful Reform, the latest report from the International Crisis Group, examines the situation in Mali after France’s military intervention to restore the north of the country to government control and as the UN Security Council considers the deployment and mandate of a stabilisation mission. Sporadic fighting in the north continues and formidable threats to security remain. The presidential election, currently scheduled for July, poses particularly acute challenges. An inclusive political process, involving national dialogue and reconciliation between Mali’s various communities, are critical to preventing a resurgence of violence. Over time, only improved governance can ensure sustained peace and stability.
The report’s major findings and recommendations are:
“Elections must be held soon but not at any cost”, says Gilles Yabi, Crisis Group’s West Africa Project Director. “Reconciliation must begin now, as should the provision of basic social and economic services to the north. The radicalisation of public opinion is a major risk and Mali’s leaders and institutions must take firm action to prevent people, especially those in the south, lumping together rebels, terrorists and drug traffickers with all Tuaregs and Arabs”.
“Focusing on terrorism alone risks distracting from the main problems”, says Comfort Ero, Crisis Group’sAfrica Program Director. “Corruption and poor governance are more important causes of the crisis than the terrorist threat, the Tuareg issue, or even the north-south divide. The challenges for the region and the UN are to align their positions on the political process, and to insist that Malians, especially their elites, assume responsibility for reversing bad governance and preventing another crisis”.