MALI MUST INCREASE PEACE INITIATIVES TO COMBAT EXTREMISM AND VIOLENCE EXPERTS SAY

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[African News\ Mali]
Participants urged the regional institution to work more with relevant existing and credible local civil society organizations, traditional institutions, faith-based organizations, women and youth groups and mobilize their support for the fight against violent extremism and inter-communal conflicts in the region through the implementation of peace education programs.
Photo: ECOWAS

Experts say Mali must increase peace and security initiatives among all sectors of the country, while working with ECOWAS and African Union, to combat violence and extremism.

Peace and security experts have strongly expressed the need for the government of Mali to stay focused on the on-going inclusive Inter-Malian Community and National Dialogue and Reconciliation initiatives in the country.

In addition, the government has been advised to continue with the security sector reform as well as the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process in Mali.

These were part of the conclusions of the maiden edition of the “Inter RECs-RMs Peace and Security Forum: Policy Dialogue on Mali Experience” which took place on 8th November 2019 in Accra, Ghana.

The Forum was organized by the ECOWAS Commission and the Permanent Representation to the African Union in the spirit of strengthening collaboration between and amongst the RECs and RMs as critical actors and stakeholders of African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) and in particular for promotion of coordination as envisaged in the Strategic Priority 5 of the APSA Roadmap (2016-2020). This created a platform for consultations among the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and Regional Mechanisms (RMs) to formulate and harmonize positions on peace and security, and ensure transparent and mutually-beneficial relations with the African Union, including extending invitations to other RECs/RMs to ECOWAS meetings’’.

Among participants at the forum were ECOWAS Permanent Representative in Mali, representatives from the African Union Commission and the African Standby Forces, the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel, African policy think tanks from Member States, independent peace and security experts as well as civil society organizations (CSOs). Forum participants called on ECOWAS to re-assert its leadership in the coordination of efforts to restore peace and stability in Mali in particular, as well as take effective leadership in peace, security and development of the ECOWAS space.

Also, they want ECOWAS to support the Malian authorities to strengthen the capacity of the national army through training in counter-terrorism and asymmetric warfare. They also recommended the improvement and strengthening of intelligence gathering and sharing between and among the security agencies of Member States in the region. Similarly, they called for the strengthening of early warning and effective response mechanisms within the ECOWAS Commission as well as Member States.

According to the forum, ECOWAS should help strengthen the constitutional convergence principles such as democratic governance, peaceful and credible elections, rule of law and human rights, in Member States.

Moreover, participants urged the regional institution to work more with relevant existing and credible local civil society organizations, traditional institutions, faith-based organizations, women and youth groups and mobilize their support for the fight against violent extremism and inter-communal conflicts in the region through the implementation of peace education programs. Among others, they further recommended robust communication strategies so as to engage ECOWAS Community citizens and the international community.

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