The high representative of the African Union Mission for Mali and the Sahel (MISAHEL), Pierre Buyoya, affirmed that the security situation in Mali and the Sahel, “severely degraded”, currently requires exploring other avenues, among them “dialogue with militants”. During a press conference on Tuesday, Buyoya said that “the security situation in the sub-region has deteriorated sharply over the past year.
To reverse the trend, governance and the security strategy must be reviewed by encouraging Mali to commit to continuing negotiations with the militants ”. Former President of Burundi, Pierre Buyoya also recalled that the African Union supports this initiative of dialogue to end the conflicts ravaging the region.
“We, the African Union, strongly support this initiative of dialogue with those who are the leaders of militant groups. It is one of the ways to end the war. Especially if they are Malians, we encourage them to do so, ”he said while acknowledging that it was“ a difficult undertaking ”.
What about the fight against militancy? For the speaker, the dialogue does not exclude the abandonment of the armed struggle. “Engaging in dialogue does not exclude the use of force concomitantly. This is what the liberation movements called ‘fight and talk’ ”, said Pierre Buyoya, who hopes for Mali that dialogue with the militants will lead to a solution, as with the Algerian neighbor.
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The option of dialogue with militant leaders has emerged in Mali for some time now. Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta himself recognized on February 10 for the first time the existence of contacts with militant groups, justifying them by the need to explore ways out of the crisis after eight years of war.
However, he added that he was still waiting for a response from the militant leaders to the approach taken by one of his representatives. “”The number of deaths today in the Sahel is becoming exponential and I think it is time that certain avenues are explored,” said Keïta in an interview with the France 24 channel and Radio France Internationale (RFI).