The Niamey Declaration
Supporting peace, democracy and solidarity in the Sahel, 17-18 March 2013
The meeting of the Socialist International Africa Committee on the theme: "Supporting peace, democracy and security in the Sahel" was held in Niamey on 17th and 18th March 2013 under the chairmanship of its newly elected Chair Emmanuel Golou, in the presence of the Secretary General of the Socialist International Luis Ayala, and assembled leaders and representatives of many socialist parties from Africa and Europe.
The Niamey meeting is taking place in a particularly difficult context characterised by war in Mali. In that regard, the participants commended the courageous decision of President Francois Hollande to send the French army into Mali in order to put an end to the invasion of the country by terrorists. The participants also paid tribute to the regional leadership of President Mahamadou Issoufou on this issue.
The SI Africa Committee reaffirmed its solidarity with the Malian people, as well as its commitment to the territorial integrity and national unity of the country, and underscored its condemnation of terrorism in all its forms.
The Committee observed that the occupation of northern Mali by armed groups is the consequence of the breakdown the Malian state’s authority, whose causes are numerous and complex.
The failure of the Malian state results from bad political, administrative and economic governance as well as the emergence of many hostile armed actors.
The installation of AQMI in the north of Mali was instrumental to the development of violence and the ‘crime economy’ in the sub region. The Libyan conflict has also been an aggravating factor of the crisis with consequences affecting the whole of Western Africa and the Maghreb. Drug trafficking and terrorism have become a major threat to the security of all the states in the region.
Furthermore, the SI Africa Committee is concerned at the human rights violations suffered by the populations of northern Mali, the risk of deterioration of civil peace and the continued displacement of populations. It condemns the new forms of violence against women and girls.
The Committee is equally concerned at the role that the military junta continues to play, taking hostage the state and political actors in Mali.
The Committee expresses its satisfaction at:
- The efforts of the international community for a speedy settlement of the crisis in Mali, notably through the adoption of Resolution 2085,
- The military intervention of France, AFISMA and Chad that foiled the attempt of drug traffickers to destroy the foundation of the Malian state,
- The will of the United Nations to turn AFISMA into a UN peacekeeping force that will enable other countries that are not ECOWAS members to contribute to the efforts to stabilise the situation.
The Socialist International Africa Committee commends:
- The announcement by the transitional government of Mali of the establishment of a National Commission for Dialogue and Reconciliation. The historic and deep-rooted social ties between the communities of northern Mali serve as a basis for a speedy restoration of peace and trust,
- The will of the Malian authorities to hold elections by the end of July 2013 that will enable the installation legitimate authorities.
The Socialist International Africa Committee:
- Encourages the Malian government to create favorable conditions for an inclusive dialogue avoiding past mistakes,
- Strongly recommends the holding of free, fair and credible elections as quickly as possible with appropriate support from the UN peace keeping mission in Mali.
- Calls on the international community to take measures necessary to ensure that the military junta does not hinder the process of national reconciliation or the organisation of elections,
- Expresses its solidarity with the peoples of Mali and the Sahel during this challenging time,
- Reiterates its support for the Malian member parties of the Socialist International, namely the RPM and ADEMA, and urges them to create the conditions whereby the Malian political class will be able to reach a consensus during the transition.
- Reaffirms the willingness of the Socialist International to accompany and support the efforts in Mali for a speedy resolution of the situation and to that end decides to set up a working group to monitor the situation through appropriate initiatives.