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AU, EU conclude joint filed mission to Mali
Last Updated: 2015-02-16 11:10 | Xinhua
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The African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) and the European Union Political and Security Committee (EUPSC) have concluded joint field mission to Mali.

While deeply concerned about the persisting violence in northern Mali, AU and EU have expressed joint support to the efforts being made to promote peace and reconciliation in Mali.

The joint field mission to Mali was undertaken on Feb. 11-13, according to AU's statement on Sunday.

The AUPSC/EUPSC joint field mission took place within the broad context of the political dialogue under the Africa-EU Joint Strategy, in which peace and security is a key pillar, noted the statement.

With the mission, the AUPSC/EUPSC underlined their joint engagement in support of Mali in its efforts to overcome its problems in the field of peace, security and development and reaffirmed their commitment to the full restoration of peace, security and development in the country.

The mission was co-led by Anne Namakau Mutelo, Ambassador of Namibia to Ethiopia and Sudan, and Ambassador Walter Stevens, Permanent Chair of the EUPSC.

The mission met with Mali's President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, Prime Minister Modibo Keita, and other relevant ministers, as well as representatives of key political parties, parliamentarians and civil society organizations.

The mission also undertook a field visit to Gao, where it held meetings with representatives of local community, the UN multidimensional integrated stabilization mission in Mali (MINUSMA) and Barkhane.

The AUPSC/EUPSC joint field mission took place at a time when the security situation in northern Mali remains very tense and the 5th round of peace talks in Algiers is taking place, said the statement.

The mission enabled both PSCs to gather first-hand information on the efforts being made to promote peace and reconciliation in Mali and to express EU and AU's joint support for these efforts, according to the statement from the pan-African bloc.

The mission expressed deep concern about the persisting violence in northern Mali, and noted that it is a threat to the security, stability, territorial integrity and development of the country and the wider Sahel region, and it continues to cause massive human suffering.

The mission called on all parties to respect the cease-fire agreement of May 23, 2014 and the declaration of cessation of hostilities of July 24, 2014.

It is essential that all armed groups refrain from any kind of violence, underlined the mission.

The AUPSC/EUPSC joint field mission reaffirmed that the substantive disagreement between Malian parties can only be settled by peaceful and constructive dialogue in the context of the talks in Algiers.

The mission urged all parties to seize this unique opportunity for dialogue and reconciliation, to attend at a suitably high level, and to show the necessary political will and flexibility to reach an inclusive and durable political solution as swiftly as possible.

Without it, all parties, and particularly the ordinary people of Mali, will continue to suffer.

The joint mission emphasized the need for enhanced coordination among regional and international actors in the implementation of their respective strategies for the Sahel.

The mission acknowledged the efforts to enhance security cooperation and the operationalization of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) in the Sahelo- Saharan region, including the Declaration adopted by the Summit held on Dec. 18, 2014, in Nouakchott, Mauritania.

The AUPSC/EUPSC Joint Field Mission reiterated their full support to MINUSMA in the implementation of its mandate and its efforts to protect civilians.

The mission strongly condemned the attacks on the UN peacekeepers and civilians and urged all parties involved to refrain from violence and respect their commitments for a peaceful resolution of their differences.

Concerning the events of Jan. 27, 2015 in Gao that caused the loss of lives of civilians, the mission welcomed the opening of an enquiry.

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