Amadou Toumani TOURE
Since the independence of Mali in 1960, Bamako turns the back to Azawad, traditional territory of the Tuareg people. At this socioeconomic marginalization wanted by the malian governments were added periods of drought with the dramatic consequences for the populations. Calls for help in favour of North-Mali were never understood by Bamako. Besides, the Tuareg did not stop alerting the malian authorities on the injustices, the discriminations, the corruption and the violations of the human rights which they undergo as well as the not democratic governance which leaves them no place in the management of the affairs of the country. The accumulation of these grievances to which the Malian power brought no answer, except the repression, provoked a series of revolts of the Tuaregs which repeat since the beginning of 1990s.
Every revolt is translated by hundreds victims and ends in the signature of a peace agreement but which is never respected by the Malian State, what provokes a new revolt which generates the same dramas and the same sufferings. In November, 2010, young Tuaregs meet in Timbuktoo to create the National Movement of Azawad ( MNA) and opt for the defense of the interests of the populations of Azawad by legal, peaceful and democratic means. From the beginning of the meeting, two of the main organizers of the meeting are arrested and transferred in Bamako where they undergo the interrogations and the torture during 15 days. On one year later, the MNA is transformed into National Movement of Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), a politico-military movement to which adhere the war veterans and the young generations with the objective is the independence of Azawad.
Here is what arrives when we leave to the peoples only the revolt as ultimate recourse. Without present and without future for their children within the Malian State, the Tuaregs of Azawad decided to take their fate in hand, according to the Charter of the United Nations, to the Declaration for the rights of indigenous peoples and to the African Charter of human rights and peoples.
In front of a malian army which fast abandoned the ground by lack of motivation and certainly because her leaders considered that the Touareg cause was just and justifiable, the MNLA was not very sad to conquer all the territories of Azawad (of a surface of 1,5 France) in two months. Having reached his objective, the MNLA ends his military operations on April 5th, 2012 and from the next day he proclaims the independence of Azawad. Naturally, he asks immediately for the recognition of the new independent State by the international authorities.
The Tuaregs, the autochtonous people Tamacheq-Amazigh of Sahara, possess a culture characterized by the sense of the hospitality, the tolerance, the secularism and the democracy. They resist thus naturally to any sectarian or extremist ideology. That is why, contrary to the fact that proclaims a certain propaganda, the Tuaregs cannot have any link with terrorist groups. However, these are present in north-Mali for years and rage quite freely, in the seen and in the known of the States of the region. Their abrupt intervention in the problem of Azawad was made against the will of the MNLA and can be only a manipulation in particular by Malian and Algerian secret services with the aim of compromising the Touareg cause and sabotaging the project of the independence of Azawad. In any case the MNLA clearly declared his intention to hunt sooner or later Al-Qaida of all the territories of Azawad and to build a democratic and secular.
According to the declarations of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs quoted by news agencies, the France decided to “not accept” the declaration of independence of Azawad made by the MNLA. Mr Juppé, Minister of Foreign Affairs would have asserted April 6th, 2012 that "France is attached to the territorial integrity of Mali, it is not possible to question the sovereignty of this country". He however added that "the Tuareg question can be resolved only within the framework of a dialogue with the authorities of Bamako".
Other voices in particular in Bamako incite France to intervene militarily against the MNLA.
The Congrès Mondial Amazigh, international NGO of defense of the rights of the Amazigh (Berber) people, warns the French State against any inconvenient intervention in this conflict. This one would have only effects, to deteriorate the hostility and the tensions between the South and the North of Mali. The slightest foreign overthrow would precipitate the country into the chaos for a long time.
When the French Minister declares that "it is not possible to question the sovereignty of Mali", we remind him that it is not any more allowed France to continue to draw the map of Africa as one pleases. The time of the colonialism is gone, it is the moment to make speak about the international law concerning the right of the peoples to their self-determination. Furthermore, as the ancient colonial power, France is placed well to know the arbitrary and artificial character of the borders which she drew in Africa, what is at the origin of the conflict of today.
Besides, we would have deeply wished that "France of human rights" exercises her right of humanitarian intervention when the Tuaregs of Mali and Niger in particular, were massacred, starved, despoiled of their land and natural resources and exiled with complete impunity for more than five decades.
We could understand that France wants the conservation of his interests in the region but never at the sacrifice of people who asks only to live freely and with dignity on his lands.
The definitive solution to the deep dispute which sets Azawad and Bamako passes effectively by the negotiation but under the auspices of a neutral part and accepted by belligerent parties. The Tuaregs like other oppressed peoples in the world do not want to live forever colonized. The international community has understood this by favoring the access to the independence of many countries in Europe during the last 20 years or even recently in Africa with the independence of the South-Sudan.
Madame, Sir, the candidate,
During your campaign and whatever the designated winner on the evening of May 6th, 2012, we ask you all and all:
- To position France in accordance with the international law,
- To guarantee the neutrality of France in the internal conflict in Mali,
- To support within the international authorities, for a negotiated settlement of the conflict that involves the recognition of the sovereignty of Azawad.
Accept, Madame, Sir, the expression of our highest consideration.
Paris, 8 avril 2012
The President of CMA
Fathi N Khlifa