The Malian Peace Agreement Partners met for the first time in the city of Kidal on Thursday, in a symbolic sign of moving forward in implementing the provisions of the peace agreement in Mali.
The “Algiers Accord” follow-up committee has never met in this northern Mali city which is still under the control of the former Tuareg-dominated rebellion, since the signing of the peace agreement in 2015.
Holding this meeting in a city like Kidal is intended to make progress on the political level at a time when the prospect of ending the crisis in the Sahel region appears to be still elusive, amid persistent doubts about the capabilities of regional countries to carry out their tasks and in light of questions about the future of the French military presence in the region.
The political track, beginning with the implementation of this long-awaited agreement, which provides for the integration of former rebels into the defense forces, as well as granting greater autonomy to the regions, is seen as paralleling the military and security tracks.
Since 2012, which witnessed the start of the activity of local rebels calling for secession in the north, in events followed by the emergence of extremist Islamic groups, Mali has plunged into a multi-faceted crisis that left thousands of civilians and fighters dead and led to the displacement of hundreds of thousands despite the support of the international community and the intervention of UN, African and French forces.
Mali suffers from the activities of groups loyal to al-Qaeda and “ISIS”, rampant acts of violence, and various types of illegal trafficking, as the violence spread from it to neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger.