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Mali summons Algeria envoy over ‘interference’ and ‘unfriendly acts’

December 21, 2023 at 11:31 am

Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Mali Tiebile Drame, in the Europa, the EU Council headquarter, in Brussels, Belgium, on May 14, 2019 [Thierry Monasse/Getty Images]

Mali summoned the Algerian ambassador yesterday over what it says is “interference” and “unfriendly acts”.

In a statement, the Malian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the Algerian diplomat was summoned “to raise a strong protest” from Bamako “following recent unfriendly acts by the Algerian authorities, under the guise of the peace process in Mali.”

The accusations reportedly stem from meetings held between Algerian officials and Tuareg separatists. Algeria is notable in being the main mediator in efforts to bring about a peaceful solution to northern Mali following an agreement signed in 2015 between the Malian government and predominantly Tuareg militia.

There has been renewed hostilities between the army and rebel groups since August. This has coincided with growing violence from Islamist groups, despite the deployment in December 2021 of Russian Wagner Group mercenaries.

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The statement noted that there were “recurrent meetings, at the highest levels in Algeria, and without the slightest information or involvement of the Malian authorities… with people known for their hostility to the Malian government.”

The Malian government sees “these acts as constituting interference in Mali’s internal affairs” which “are likely to damage good relations” with Algiers, the statement added.

According to AFP, Tuareg forces announced yesterday that they had set up a blockade on major roads in the north of the country, where the military has been making inroads in recent weeks, amid an offensive aimed at recapturing the northeast city of Kidal.

The Permanent Strategic Framework (CSP), an alliance of armed groups, said it had set up roadblocks across all roads leading to northern borders with Mauritania, Algeria and Niger.

The Malian army said in a statement that it had learned “of the kidnapping of some [its] soldiers” during an attack last week in the central town of Farabougou. It denounced it as “a cowardly act” committed to “demoralise” soldiers and said that “everything will be done to allow the hostages to regain their freedom.”

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