Mali junta ends peace agreement with separatist rebels News
Idrissa Fall, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Mali junta ends peace agreement with separatist rebels

Mali military leaders ended a 2015 peace agreement with separatist rebels in the north of the country citing hostilities and broken commitments among the pact’s signatories during a televised press conference Thursday. Colonel Abdoulaye Maïga read the press release from the Mali transitional government that placed blame for the peace agreement’s failure on international mediation and interference from Mali’s northern neighbor, Algeria. The north African country helped broker the deal in 2015 and the efforts for peace and reconciliation had been referred to as the “Algiers Process.”

The colonel cited three developments as reasons for the government’s choice to end the deal including the resumption of “terrorism” by certain parties to the pact, the inability of international mediation to enforce the agreement, and hostilities from the Algerian government they considered a violation of Mali’s sovereignty. The statement invited the former signatories not engaged in terrorism or hostilities to reengage in dialogue with the transitional government to work out a new agreement.

The 2015 Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in Mali sought to balance separatists goals of greater independence and better governance with the security interests of the Malian state who had been engaged in conflict with Islamic jihadists, as well as the rebels in the northern reaches of the country. Conflict between ethnic Tuareg tribes and the state of Mali date back to independence from French rule in 1960 and have sprung up consistently over the history of the West African country.

In 2021 a coup d’etat deposed Malian President Bah N’daw and Colonel Assimi Goïta assumed power as the head of a military junta. The 2021 coup was the country’s third in 10 years, having succeeded another 2020 coup from the military that originally put N’daw in power in an attempt to transition back to democracy. The junta has faced international condemnation and increased conflict with jihadists centered in the Sahel region since coming to power. Recent skirmishes between the Malian army and separatists forces in October 2023 heightened tensions and highlighted the shaky foundation of the 2015 agreement.

The swift deterioration of the agreement follows the withdrawal of the UN mission in the country, the recall of Mali’s ambassador to Algeria and the end of ties with French military forces adding a new level of uncertainty to the future of peace in the country.