EU, AU reject Mali break-up

2012-04-06 21:32
Brussels - The EU and AU on Friday rejected any break-up of Mali and called for talks to resolve the crisis after a Tuareg rebel group proclaimed independence in the north of the country.

"The EU has made clear throughout the crisis that it respects the territorial integrity of Mali," said Maja Kocijancic, the spokesperson for EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton.

"Any political solution to the current crisis must be found within the existing constitutional framework."

The reaction comes after the main Tuareg rebel group, the MNLA, had declared the independence of their desert homeland they call Azawad.

However, the military chief of another rebel group that controls the city of Timbuktu, an Islamist movement known as Ansar Dine, has opposed Tuareg independence in northern Mali.

AU rejection

Kocijancic said it backed efforts by the West African regional bloc Ecowas to broker an end to the crisis in Mali which has been plunged into chaos since a coup in March.

"Until constitutional rule has been restored throughout Mali, these issues cannot be solved," said the spokesperson.

"We fully support Ecowas efforts to achieve a swift solution to the problem."

The AU rejected Mali's Tuareg rebel proclamation of independence in the north, dismissing it as "null and of no value whatsoever".

AU Commission chief Jean Ping expressed the bloc's "total rejection" of the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) declaration of a homeland in the north.

The MNLA captured northern Mali along with Ansar Dine, a much smaller Islamist group, over the past two weeks in the aftermath of a coup by rebellious soldiers in the capital Bamako.

Ping also slammed the seizure of the Algerian consulate in Gao in the north east of the coup-wracked country by Islamist gunmen and demanded an immediate release of abducted diplomats.

The pan-African bloc has suspended Mali and on Tuesday imposed travel bans and an asset freeze on the junta after it failed to heed calls to restore constitutional order.

"The AU and its member states will spare no efforts to contribute to the restoration of the authority of the Republic of Mali on its entire territory," the statement said.
Read more on:    au  |  eu  |  mali  |  west africa  |  security

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