Gradual Diplomatic Thaw between Algeria and Mali

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In a noteworthy development, the Algerian ambassador to Mali has returned to his post in Bamako after being recalled by his country two weeks ago due to diplomatic tensions between the capitals of Bamako and Algiers. In a reciprocal move, Mali had also recalled its ambassador to Algeria, who was set to resume duties on Sunday. Does this signal the end of the discord between the two nations?

This marks a cautious step toward diplomatic reconciliation, with Algeria taking the initiative. Ambassador El Haoues Riache, back in his position after consultations with Algerian authorities, is poised to swiftly engage in efforts to strengthen relations between Bamako and Algiers. However, challenges likely lie ahead, as the Malian ambassador in Algiers has yet to return to his post, despite it being under consideration.

Among the grievances expressed by Mali toward its larger neighbor is the recent welcoming of rebels from the Kidal region with open arms in the Algerian capital. According to reliable sources, these rebels are still present on Algerian territory. Another pressing issue on the table is the 2015 peace agreement between Mali and armed groups in the North, with Algeria serving as its guarantor.

Complicating matters, an imminent “direct dialogue among Malians” has been officially announced in Bamako. However, Kidal rebels have already declared their intention to abstain from participating in this upcoming dialogue. Navigating these complex dynamics demands a delicate touch from Algeria as it seeks to regain control of the situation.

The return of Ambassador Riache to Bamako symbolizes a diplomatic thaw, yet the road ahead remains intricate. The handling of outstanding issues, such as the rebels’ presence on Algerian soil and the delicate peace agreement, will require diplomatic finesse from Algeria to effectively steer the dialogue and forge a path toward improved relations between the two nations.


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