Foreign Minister Steinmeier met his Malian counterpart Abdoulaye Diop at the Federal Foreign Office on Thursday morning (15 October). The main subject of their talks was the further implementation of the Algiers peace accord, intended to ensure durable stabilisation in Mali following the serious crisis of 2012‑13. Steinmeier assured his colleague that Germany would continue to support Mali in this process.
Diop’s first official visit to Berlin
This was Foreign Minister Diop’s first visit to Germany since assuming office in April 2014. As Foreign Minister, he headed the Malian Government delegation at the peace talks in the Algerian capital Algiers. After eight months of tough negotiations, the talks produced a peace accord between the Government and the armed rebel groups. This agreement aims to drive forward Mali’s stabilisation following the armed conflicts of 2012‑13.
Germany is currently actively involved in the stabilisation process in Mali. Both ongoing EU‑led missions – civilian capacity-building under EUCAP Sahel Mali and military training under EUTM Mali – are currently headed up by Germany. MINUSMA, the UN peacekeeping mission, also receives support from Germany. Foreign Minister Steinmeier assured his counterpart Diop: “Germany will continue to support Mali.” Discussions were currently underway with the Netherlands Government, the Minister went on, as to whether German engagement in MINUSMA could be further extended.
Germany and Mali – Close partners from the outset
Steinmeier stressed the long-term perspective of the German-Malian partnership. After all, he said, Germany had been one of the first countries to recognise and establish diplomatic relations with the newly founded Malian state in 1960. The two countries had enjoyed a good and close partnership ever since, the Minister added. That was one reason why Germany had such an interest in bringing stability to Mali; another was the fight against cross-border problems like drugs and human trafficking. In implementing the peace accord, Steinmeier said, the priority now was “not only to implement the content of the agreement, but also to win over the hearts and minds of the people”. This demanded both clear signals from the Malian Government and a strict rejection of violence by non-state actors. With regard to the recent terrorist attacks, Steinmeier said:
A certain amount of stamina is needed. As ever in peace processes, there will always be some radical elements that try to derail the process. No‑one must allow that to happen. That includes the Malian Government.
Malian Foreign Minister Diop thanked Steinmeier for Germany’s commitment to stabilisation in Mali. The extent of Germany’s interest, he continued, was shown not least by the large number of high-level visitors from politics and civil society in the past few years. On behalf of his Government, Diop pledged to do everything possible to ensure that the content of the Algiers peace accord became reality in his country.