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People's Daily Online

AU says "unconstitutional change" of gov't in Mali further complicates security situation

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 11:05, August 21, 2020

ADDIS ABABA, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) -- The African Union (AU) Commission said the "unconstitutional change" of government in Mali further complicates the situation on the ground, particularly the implementation of the peace and reconciliation agreement as well as the current efforts in the fight against terrorism and transnational organized crime in the country.

The statement was made by the the Peace and Security Council of the AU Commission, which also on late Wednesday suspended Mali from the AU membership during its latest meeting that dwelt upon the situation in the western Africa country.

"The Council strongly condemned the unconstitutional change of government in Mali, which took place on August 18, 2020, which further complicates the situation on the ground, particularly the implementation of the Peace and Reconciliation Agreement for Mali emanating from the Algiers process, signed in 2015, as well as the current efforts in the fight against terrorism and transnational organized crime in the country," the Council said in a statement issued on late Wednesday.

The Council had also decided "to immediately suspend the participation of Mali in the activities of the AU until the restoration of normal constitutional order in the country, in line with the relevant AU instruments, particularly the AU Constitutive Act, the Protocol Relating to the Establishment of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union, the 2000 Lome Declaration on Unconstitutional Changes of Governments and the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, as well as the 2009 Ezulwini Framework for the Enhancement of the Implementation of AU Measures in Situations of Unconstitutional Changes of Government."

Noting the urgent need for a rapid resolution of the current crisis based on respect for constitutional order and reflecting the aspirations of the people of Mali within the framework of the relevant AU instruments, the council further appealed to the Malian people "to remain calm and to work together to resolve the crisis in their country."

It also called on the Malian defence and security forces to respect the country's constitution, uphold their professionalism, stick to their constitutional mandate and to unconditionally return to the barracks, as well as to refrain from interfering in the country's political processes.

It also demanded "the unconditional release of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and Prime Minister H.E. Boubou Cisse, and that defence and security forces to ensure creation of a conducive environment for an unimpeded return to civilian rule."

It also encouraged "all Malian political actors to embrace dialogue and reconciliation, within the framework of the Peace and Reconciliation Agreement for Mali, as the only viable approach for addressing the current challenges facing the country."

The council further encouraged expediting the implementation of the provisions of the Agreement, in order to reach a lasting solution to the crisis prevailing in the country."

It also commended and "fully supports" the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for the sustained efforts being deployed in Mali, with a view to assisting the Malian stakeholders to find a consensual, peaceful and lasting solution to the current crisis in the country, and "looks forward to the outcome of the Summit of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government scheduled for August 20, 2020."

It also encouraged the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) to continue supporting the Malian stakeholders, including in the implementation of the 2015 Agreement. It also called on partners to continue providing support to Mali.

Noting the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the council also underscored the imperative for Africa Centers for Decease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) "to continue deploying its efforts in the fight against the novel coronavirus disease pandemic," as it emphasized the need to take "the necessary steps to ensure enhanced support to Mali to enable the country to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on its population."

The council also decided to remain actively seized on the matter.

Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, currently detained by soldiers in the military camp in Kati, a town close to Bamako, announced late Tuesday night his resignation and the dissolution of the National Assembly and Prime Minister Boubou Cisse's government.

Leaders of the military coup said Wednesday they would enact a political transition and stage elections within a "reasonable time."

For months, the opposition coalition has been organizing demonstrations to demand Keita's resignation, accusing him of worsening the security situation in the northern part of the country and Mali's economic recession.

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