Violence continues to flare in areas of northern Mali despite concerted efforts to end years of insurgency with a negotiated peace. Fighting between United Nations peacekeepers and government militia with separatists took place in three locations in recent days even as final details were being set for a peace deal to be signed May 15 in the capital Bamako.
The United States strongly condemns the recent violence in and around Menaka, Timbuktu and Goundam. All parties should immediately cease hostilities and return to their previous positions in compliance with all applicable ceasefire agreements.
Northern Mali has experienced years of unrest, with members of some northern communities fighting for autonomy from the government in the south. In 2012, irredentist, armed groups in Mali joined forces with Islamist militants to briefly seize control of the north. A French-led intervention force helped the government regain control of large areas of lost territory. For months, international mediators have worked to draft a peace agreement aimed at addressing the grievances of northern communities. The government and some armed groups have given tentative approval to their proposal.
The recent violence, however, is a serious obstacle to peace. The United States urges the parties to seize the opportunity offered by the peace process, in which all relevant regional and international partners are involved, to support build a lasting peace in Mali.
We reiterate our strong support for the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali. Recognizing the legitimate aspiration of all Malians to enjoy lasting peace and development, the United States emphasizes that all parties have a responsibility to all of the communities in Mali and to the international community to reach a durable peace agreement.