Mali armed group pulls out of constitution commission

AFP , Saturday 28 Jan 2023

An armed group in Mali that signed a major peace deal in 2015 said this week it was pulling out of efforts to draft a new constitution.

Russia s Wagner Group
Russian mercenaries, right, in northern Mali. Russia s Wagner Group, a private military company led by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a rogue millionaire with longtime links to Russia s President Vladimir Putin, has played a key role in the fighting in Ukraine and also deployed its personnel to Syria, Central African Republic, Libya and Mali. AP


The new constitution is a key part of a peace and reconciliation process designed to return the country from military to civilian rule by March 2024.

The Coordination of Azawad Movements (CMA) -- a predominantly Tuareg alliance that fought the state for years before signing the peace deal in Algiers in 2015 -- blamed the ruling military junta for foot-dragging.

In a statement seen by AFP on Saturday, the CMA pointed out that it -- and almost all the other armed groups that signed the peace deal -- had in December suspended participation in the peace process because of the junta's "lack of political will to uphold it".

The decision to go further and boycott the work of rewriting the constitution came just hours after Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop accused the armed groups of "hampering" efforts to put the peace process in place.

On the contrary, the "obvious deterioration" in moves towards peace was due to the government's "clear decline in interest", said the statement, which was issued on Friday.

The CMA repeated its request for a meeting with international mediators to discuss the viability of the peace deal, which it had said in December was close to breaking down.

Mali saw two military coups, in August 2020 and May 2021.

Under international pressure, the current military government has agreed to allow a return to civilian rule in March 2024.

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