A dialogue with jihadists, but certain "red lines". This was assured Wednesday, February 26, the ambassador of Mali in France during a hearing in the Senate.
"We are going to dialogue, simply to exploit all the possibilities that exist", but "there will be red lines: sharia, we will not work, territorial integrity, we will not work, the situation for women , we will not work, "promised Toumani Djimé Diallo, questioned several times on the subject by the Defense Committee of the Senate.
And "even if we found a solution of understanding, those who have blood on their hands will have to account for it", he added, during this hearing gathering the ambassadors of the G5 Sahel countries (Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Chad).
A change of method
On February 10, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta acknowledged during an interview on France 24 and RFI the existence of contacts with jihadist groups, justifying them by the need to explore the ways out of the crisis after eight years of war . However, he said that he was still waiting for a response to the approach taken by one of his representatives.
He then confirmed the possibility of a dialogue with the Support Group for Islam and Muslims (GSIM, linked to Al-Qaeda) of Iyad Ag Ghaly. However, the Malian president had remained vague as regards the organization Islamic State in the Grand Sahara (EIGS), recently designated by France as "priority enemy", simply indicating "do not exclude anything"
Mali has been confronted since 2012 with separatist, Salafist and jihadist insurgencies and inter-community violence which has left thousands of people dead and hundreds of thousands displaced. The crisis has spread to neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger.
France "happy" with this framework
"The committee is pleased to hear that you have set a number of red lines," said the chair of the Senate Defense Committee, Senator Christian Cambon, in response to the remarks by the Malian ambassador. "You have to be very careful with whom we negotiate (...) out of respect for your own troops and ours. If peace comes one day, it must be in honor, and not in honor. no matter what price. "
France is involved in the conflict in northern Mali. The French anti-Jihadist force Barkhane has just announced its passage from 4,500 to 5,100 men by the end of February, a concrete expression of France's desire to reverse the balance of power on the ground.
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