Rwanda President Paul Kagame has said the crisis in Mali is of concern to every African because it threatens not only the security and stability of that country, but also that of the entire region and beyond.
Speaking at the AU summit at the debate on Mali on Monday following a briefing on the situation by President Dioncounda Traore, President Kagame said:
“Africa cannot, and should not, fold its arms when terrorist and criminal groups are occupying over half the territory of a Member State, carrying out the most atrocious crimes against innocent civilians and destroying monuments that are of great significance to Africa’s heritage and civilization.”
Making reference to other engaged, dedicated and patriotic and pan-Africanist Malian leaders Modibo Keita, the country’s first President and President Alpha Omar Konare, former chair of the AU Commission, President Kagame said he had no doubt that President Dioncounda Traore was determined to preserve and strengthen Mali’s invaluable contribution to the advancement of our continent.
Kagame urged total solidarity and unreserved support from the AU in order to solve the challenges facing Mali”
“It is about creating conditions for the speedy deployment of the African-led International Support Mission in Mali and sustaining its operations. AFISMA is needed more than ever before to help the Malian army complete the liberation of the northern part of the country,” said Kagame.
“And, in so doing, the Mission will assist in creating conducive conditions for a genuine political process that would see Malians of all walks of life sit together to develop a consensus on what they need to do collectively to sustain peace, ensure security and promote unity and reconciliation in their country.”
Kagame proposed that part of the funding, up to 50 million US Dollars, for AFISMA and the Malian Defense and Security Forces be allocated from AU arrear contributions, the Peace Fund and assessed contributions, a provision reflected in the draft solemn declaration on Mali.
President Kagame cited several examples that illustrated Africa’s capability when the continent has successfully mustered the political will.
“A few years ago, Comoros was seeking our help to restore its authority over the island of Anjouan. We decided at an AU Summit in 2008 to mount an African force to provide the requested assistance,” Kagame reminded his fellow Presidents.
“Sudan and Tanzania provided the troops, while other African countries contributed technical and financial support. We successfully carried out the operation, in spite of our limited means.”
He added: “Darfur in 2004 and Somalia since 2007, when Uganda and Burundi stepped in, are other examples of successful African endeavors, when odds seemed to be against us.”
Kagame said that as a non-permanent member of the Security Council, Rwanda would build on the decision taken by the AU on the draft solemn declaration on Mali to push forward a request for a UN support package funded through UN-assessed contributions.