In his New Year’s address for 2024, Colonel Assimi Goïta, the transitional president, revealed plans for the establishment of a “direct inter-Malian dialogue for peace and reconciliation.” This initiative aims at achieving “national ownership of the peace process” without the involvement of external mediation.
The specifics of this dialogue—its organization, participants, and objectives—are expected to be outlined by February. Responses from armed groups in the North, signatories of the 2015 peace agreement, vary and are unsurprisingly linked to their respective affiliations.
The Movement for the Salvation of Azawad (MSA), an ally of the transitional authorities, expressed enthusiasm for the dialogue. Ilyas Ag Siguidi, the MSA spokesperson, welcomed the initiative, stating, “We believe that inter-Malian dialogue is the only alternative to restore peace.
Malians have realized that no external entity can manage an inter-Malian issue. Therefore, we see it as the solution to end this prolonged crisis, affecting all Malian populations economically, security-wise, and even socially.”
“We are convinced that this dialogue is commendable,” emphasized Ilyas Ag Siguidi. “We will support it for the well-being of our populations across the entire Malian territory. If Malians come together at the negotiation table, they can discuss easily and find a way out of this crisis.”
However, the announcement of the dialogue is met with outright rejection from the rebels of the Permanent Strategic Framework (CSP). Mohamed El Maouloud Ramadan, one of the spokespersons for the rebel groups, categorically rejects the idea. “This announcement did not surprise us,” he pointed out. “For us, it signifies a rejection of the 2015 peace agreement; it is a way of declaring its nullity. There was an agreement in place, signed by all parties, with international mediation. We do not see how this inter-Malian process can replace that agreement.”