6 April 2012, 19:44

Tuaregs declare independence in Mali

Tuaregs declare independence in Mali

The Tuareg leaders say that they have created an independent state of Azawad in the northern part of Mali –on the territory that is controlled by the Tuaregs.

The Tuareg leaders say that they have created an independent state of Azawad in the northern part of Mali –on the territory that is controlled by the Tuaregs. The declaration that was signed by the Secretary General of the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad Bilal Ag Acherif says: “We declare an Independent State of Azawad starting from April 6th, 2012.” 

A correspondent of the Voice of Russia made a call to an expert on Africa - Pierre Jacques Maut - who works at the Institute for International and Strategic Relations (France), and asked him whether the newly-born state of Azawad had a chance to be recognized by the world community.

"The world community can’t recognize the new state. This is  a unilateral statement  made by a group which calls itself the National Movement  for the Liberation of Azawad that represents the Tuareg rebels. It is rather doubtful that it will be supported by the population of Mali, which is seriously concerned over the developments in the north of the country. Besides, there are not many Tuareg rebels – about 3,000 fighters at the maximum. And there is no proof that this group will preserve the status of an independent state. And one more thing here.  It is hardly probable that the neighbouring countries will approve this status, and it is even less probable that any of the African countries will recognize the new state. First of all, because this runs counter to the basic principle of the African Union, that is, the non-changeability of the African countries’ borders. This is one thing. Second is that one can predict that Mali’s neighbours, including  Algeria, Mauritania, Niger, and  Chad, will never  approve the appearance  of a new state  in the north of Mali, fearing that someday the Tuaregs may lay claims to Algeria’s part of the Sahara Desert, where the Tuareg tribes live, which is even impossible to imagine. The Tuaregs live in other countries too. Thus, this story will not have a sequel."    

And this is what a Russian African studies expert and the leading scholar of the Institute for African Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences Yevgeny Korendyassov says. 

"It is absolutely impossible to imagine the appearance of another independent state in the Sahel that is part of Mali. The experience acquired by the African continent shows that separatism is of no help in settling problems – if any. We see that the emergence of the Republic of South Sudan has not led to the cessation of violence. On the contrary, it has intensified there. I agree that it is necessary to take into account the lawful and well-substantiated demands of the Tuaregs concerning their security and the settlement of social and economic difficulties that emerge, showing respect for their traditions and customs. I believe that the best way for settling the problems of the Tuaregs is the broadening of their autonomy, which will lead to the peaceful coexistence with the other peoples of Mali, as well as with the peoples of the neighbouring countries of the Sahel."

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