Richard Attias: African institutions need help in northern Mali
Mediations from the Ecowas (West Africa economic body) and the African Union have played a key role in solving Mali's political crisis. However, African institutions need support to help fighting terrorist groups in northern Mali, said the founder of the New York Forum Africa, Richard Attias.
African institutions' response to the military coup in Mali was (for once) unanimous and vigorous. The military officers, who overthrowned democratically-elected president Amadou Toumani Toure, on March 21st, have been under constant pressure by African officials and had to give up power a few days later.
The military stepped back after the joint intervention of Alassane Ouattara, chairman of ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) and Jean Ping, chairperson of the commission of the African Union. As a result, the Malian Parliament speaker was sworn in as interim president of Mali.
This was only possible because ECOWAS and African Union apply strong pressure on the Junta by advocating economic sanctions and threats of a possible intervention of military troops. A successful mediation which proved that African political institutions influence is unquestionably improving, according to Richard Attias.
For one of the first time in African history, regional institutions were indeed able to prevent a military coup. In the same time, The United States and France, two countries who usually play diplomatic key roles in African political conflicts, stayed out of the Mali crisis. Both countries were probably more concerned by domestic affairs, with presidential elections to come.
But the situation in North-Mali is still critical, and African institutions need help from Western countries. Terrorist groups linked to Al-Qaida are operating in this region and represent a threat for Europe and the United States, added Richard Attias.
“Now that leaders like Ouattara, or Doctor Jean Ping are working together to promote peace in the region, the rest of the world should be ready to help in whatever ways are most practical. We ought to support such individuals: for after the global economy is revived, the next thing to build is a community of global leaders who share a commitment to a safe and peaceful world”, said Attias who will hold in June in Libreville (Gabon) the first edition of the New York Forum Africa.