Addis Ababa – The African Union Commission (AUC) on Sunday commended Presidents Goodluck Jonathan and Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso for their efforts in reaching an agreement at the Ouagadougou negotiations to end the Malian crises.
Dr Dlamini Zuma, the Chairperson of the commission, gave the commendation in a statement issued by the Information and Communication Directorate in Addis Ababa.
The statement, made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) also expressed appreciation to the members of the international community who extended support to the effort.
The chairperson said that the success of the Ouagadougou negotiations illustrated the crucial role of the ECOWAS region and the neighbouring countries as well as the continent, through the AU, for a successful conclusion of the ongoing process in Mali.
Zuma urged the Malian parties to ”honour the commitments they entered into, with the support of the ECOWAS Mediator and Associate Mediator, Compaore and Jonathan, the AU High Representative for Mali and the Sahel and Head of AFISMA, as well as the Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations in Mali.
”The effort equally expresses the importance of a true partnership with the rest of the international community, including the United Nations, as stressed by the Peace and Security Council (PSC) in various statements on the situation in Mali.”
She urged ECOWAS and the countries of the region to provide all the necessary support to the Malian Government and to fully play their role ”affirming the AU’s commitment to continue to work with the Government and the people of Mali for the completion of the transitional process of their country”.
The chairperson welcomed the signing of a Preliminary Agreement to the Presidential Election and Inclusive Peace Talks in Mali between the Transitional Government of National Unity of the Republic of Mali and and the Coordination of the National Movement for the Liberation of the Azawad (MNLA), as well as the High Council for the Unity of the Azawad (HCUA).
Zuma said : ”We have closely followed the evolution of the negotiation process between the Malian parties in Ouagadougou, under the aegis of President Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso, Mediator of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in the Malian crisis.”
AU High Representative for Mali and the Sahel, who is also the Special Representative and Head of the African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA) and former Burundian President Pierre Buyoya, represented the union in the negotiation.
The statement stated that the regional mediation was part of the commission’s efforts to consolidate the “remarkable” progress made in the search for a solution to the Malian crisis.
”The Agreement provides, among others, for the redeployment of the Malian army throughout northern Mali, as demanded by the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC), and the holding of the presidential elections scheduled for July 2013 on the entire Malian territory, including Kidal.”
She also urged them to raise awareness about the provisions of the agreement and to refrain from any action or statement that could undermine the peace process in Mali.
Zuma appealed to all the other Malian armed groups in northern Mali that were not signatories to the agreement and that had no connection with terrorist and criminal groups to join and unconditionally commit to all the provisions contained therein.
Meanwhile, a long-term observer group of the African Union had deployed personnel to Mali, ahead of the July 28 presidential elections.
The AU Commissioner for Political Affairs and Nigeria’s Dr Aisha Abdullahi had on Wednesday inaugurated the activities and deployment of AU long-term Election Observer Group in Bamako, the Malian Capital.
The group is expected to oversee and contribute to the conduct of free, fair and credible polls in Mali, scheduled for July 28.
The AU nine-member long-term observer group arrived in Bamako on June 15. (NAN)