STATEMENT BY THE REPRESENTATIVE OFFICE
TO THE UNITED NATIONS OFFICE AT GENEVA
OF THE ASSOCIATION OF WORLD CITIZENS
WORLD CITIZENS CALL FOR RENEWED EFFORTS
FOR A MALI FEDERATION
In an April 29, 2012 message to H. E. Mr. Ramtane Lamamra, Commissioner for Peace and Security of the African Union, Prof. René Wadlow, President of the Association of World Citizens, called upon the African Union to facilitate the creation of a federation of north and south Mali rather than having the country split into two independent states with unresolved frontier issues.
President Wadlow highlighted the recent meeting of representatives of the 15-member Economic Organization of West African States (ECOWAS) on April 26-27 in Abidjan which set a 12-month deadline for a transition period in Mali after the March 22coup of military officers led by Captain Amadou Sanogo. In response to strong, negative reactions by the international community, on April 7 there was a return to a civilian transitional government. However, the northern half of the country is now controlled by two rival Tuareg groups, the Mouvement national de libération de l’Azawad (MNLA) and the Ansar Dine. The MNLA has declared the northern half to be the independent state of Azawad.
“12 months should be long enough to work out a new constitution which maintains the unity of the country while at the same time providing the needed autonomy to the north and a preservation of the Tuareg way of life.” World Citizens believe in cooperation and in finding solutions based on respect for the positions and values of all the parties in the conflict.
“The Association of World Citizens believes that the Commission for Peace and Security of the African Union is well placed to help in drafting such a new federal constitution, especially as the Commissioner is a former Ambassador of Algeria to the United Nations. In the past, Algeria has played a mediation role between the Tuareg who also inhabit south Algeria and the governments of Mali and Niger where there are larger Tuareg communities.”
The declaration of the independence of north Mali by the MNLA is the first time such a formal proclamation has been made, although the independence of Azawad has always been among the Tuareg demands. Thus, it may be difficult for the Tuareg leadership, now in a position of force, to return simply to promises of greater autonomy within a unified Mali. A federation with clear divisions of authority could be a measure acceptable to both the MNLA and the government in Bamako.
“A crisis is a time for creative efforts. The Association of World Citizens is prepared to be of help with expertise in federal-confederal forms of government in this process.
“A transition period of 12 months may seem like a long time, but given the deep divisions of attitudes among leaders of north and south Mali, the sooner such efforts get underway the better. Support for the goal of a Mali federation on the part of the African Union’s Commission for Peace and Security could be an important part of creating a positive atmosphere in which such constitution drafting could be carried out.”
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