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**NEWS**

CONTACT GROUP MEETING ON MALI - 2017-09-20

 The OIC Contact Group on Mali met at Ministerial level on 20 September, 2017 on the sideline of the Annual Coordination Meeting of Foreign Ministers in New York. The meeting reviewed the latest developments in Mali and the implementation of the peace process. The Meeting received a briefing from the Foreign Minister of Mali and the Secretary General. It also heard interventions from other members of the Contact Group.

During deliberations which focused on the implementation of the Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in Mali resulting from the Algiers process, as well as peace building process in Mali, the Meeting agreed on the following:

i. The Meeting restated its firm commitment to the principles of sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of Mali.

ii. The Meeting reiterated its strong condemnation of violent extremism and terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, organized crime, drug and human trafficking which continue to undermine peace, security and stability in Mali and the Sahel region.

iii. The Meeting re-affirmed the full support of the OIC as one of the guarantors for the Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in Mali, resulting from the Algiers Process, and reiterated the determination of the Organization to continue to actively work with the Government of Mali in the critical implementation phase through its effective participation in the work of the Monitoring and Implementation Committee and urged the Malian parties signatories of the accord to speed up the implementation process.

iv. The Meeting commended the important progress so far made in the implementation of the peace agreement and the inclusive approach being adopted by the Government of Mali to accelerate its implementation. In this context, the Meeting welcomed the installation of the local Interim Administrations in the northern regions and the putting in place of the Operational Coordination Mechanism for joint patrols. It called for the end of the stand-off in Kidal.

v. The Meeting noted the fragile situation still prevailing in Kidal and its environs and underscored the necessity to hasten the restoration of State authority in all parts of the country through a comprehensive and inclusive approach. In this connection, it strongly condemned the violent confrontations in the region in July between some rival armed Tuareg groups signatories of the peace accord.

vi. The Meeting called on the protagonist groups and movements involved in the violence in which represents a violation of the ceasefire in place, to comply with their obligations and respect the May 2014 ceasefire. It warned spoilers and the enemies of peace to desist from their negative activities or face severe sanctions.

vii. The Meeting welcomed the adoption of resolution 2374 (2017) establishing a sanctions a regime of targeted sanctions against those responsible for obstructing the implementation of the peace agreement.

viii. The Meeting welcomed the establishment by the leaders of five (G5) Sahel countries, including Mali, of a Joint Force to counter terrorism, transnational organized crime and human trafficking in their common space. It stressed the importance of extending support by the Member States to such regional collaboration in the Sahel countries and noted that such a concrete collective action would go a long way in confronting the wave of cross-border attacks by militant and terrorist groups spreading insecurity in the region.

ix. In this regard, the Meeting expressed support for convening the planning conference provided for in resolution 2359 (2017) of the UN Security Council on 16 December 2017 in Brussels, and requested member states to extend their support thereto.

x. The Meeting requested the Member States and OIC financial institutions, particularly the IDB, to provide all the necessary assistance for the long term development of Mali within the framework of the OIC and overall UN Strategy for the Sahel. It also called on them to contribute massively to the socio-economic development of Mali.

xi. The Meeting welcomed the development projects and other forms of assistance provided by the Member States within the framework of their bilateral cooperation with Mali and strongly invited them to step up their engagement. In this regard, it tasked the Secretary General to initiate necessary actions that may lead to the establishment of the Trust Fund as decided by the 12th Islamic Summit.

xii. The Meeting also called on the Member States, OIC institutions and Islamic NGOs to continue to generously extend humanitarian assistance in order to alleviate the suffering of the Malian IDPs and refugees including supporting the efforts of the host countries and the Government of Mali.

xiii. The Meeting reiterated its call on ISESCO and IRCICA to take necessary measures in collaboration with UNESCO to restore, preserve and protect the rich Islamic cultural heritage in Mali.

xiv. The Meeting requested the Secretary General to dispatch as soon as possible, a Joint OIC Needs Assessment Mission to Mali to be composed of the relevant OIC institutions and interested members of the Contact Group to evaluate the security, socio-economic, development and humanitarian situation on the ground and submit a report on the possibility of extending financial, material and technical assistance to Mali in those areas.

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