February 17, 2013

MNLA Communique No 52 Feb 11, 2013

Bilal ag Acherif

(This English translation is approximate)

1.  The MNLA [National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad] would like to remind everyone that the MNLA was at the outset a peaceful movement that tried to work for a political settlement of the issues through dialogue – and this includes our correspondence addressed to the Malian authorities dated 05 October 2011 [several months before the armed conflict that began January 17, 2012]
2.  The MNLA is asking for the immediate opening of negotiations with the Government of Mali, to lay down the conditions for the exercise of authority, administration, and development in Azawad.
3.  The MNLA is requesting the appointment of a neutral mediator, one who is internationally recognized, and accredited by both parties [MNLA and Mali].
4.  The MNLA does not take issue with the internationally recognized borders of Mali, while clearly keeping in mind that Azawad exists as an entity.
5.  The MNLA recalls that on the eve of the independence of the Sudanese Republic, which is now the Republic of Mali, the populations of Azawad joined Mali's independence but wanted respect for their cultures and their dignity.
6.  Given our commitment to peace, the MNLA is requesting the participation of France, the United States of America, United Nations, European Union, African Union, and the Organization of the Islamic Conference, as observers in the negotiations with Mali.
7.  The MNLA reaffirms its commitment to the International Declaration of Human Rights, the Charter of the United Nations, and fundamental freedoms.
8.  Considering the poverty, abandonment, and contempt in which populations of Azawad have always been kept within Mali, the MNLA is asking for aid and development for Azawad:
      a.  Health services (clinics and hospitals)
      b.  Water and electricity
      c.  Food aid - the population urgently needs food
      d.  Reopening the schools throughout Azawad, and support for students to take up their studies again
      e.  The MNLA is asking for amelioration of the degraded living conditions of refugees and displaced populations, and help for them to return quickly to their homes and pasture sites.
9.    The MNLA is asking for the appointment of a coordinator approved by both parties [MNLA and Mali], to restore these basic services in Azawad, and to establish effective procedures to ensure transparency in the management of funds, to avoid corruption and nepotism.
10.  The MNLA maintains its commitment to fight against terrorism and assumes its share of responsibility in this fight, according to its means.
11. The MNLA does not accept a Malian military presence in areas under its control before the end of negotiations.  The MNLA favors a political solution to the issue of Azawad.
12. The MNLA wants to draw the attention of the international community to the many abuses that have recently been committed in areas occupied by the Malian army.  The MNLA  supports the request of Human Rights Watch to start an independent international commission of inquiry into these recent human rights abuses. The MNLA is also asking for the opening of an independent international investigation to shed light on the crimes committed by the Malian army from 1963 to the present day among the populations of Azawad.
13. The MNLA denies any responsibility for the sad events in Aguelhoc in January 2012, and is eager for the establishment of an international commission of inquiry to establish the facts surrounding Aguelhoc.  The MNLA is willing to contribute to a search for the truth of what happened at Aguelhoc.  

Written at Kidal, February 11, 2013
President of the Transitory Council of the State of Azawad (CTEA)
Bilal Ag Acherif