Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Situation in Mali

Delivered in Plenary - 17th April 2012

Mr President

The ECR Group fully condemns the unilateral declaration of independence of Azawad, which is exploiting the vacuum following the military coup which recently ousted Malian President Touré. The MNLA (National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad) separatist rebels must now hand over control of the northern areas which they currently control to the central political authorities in Mali, as demanded by the international community. Anything else will destabilise the strategically-vital Sahel region.

The MNLA leaders should also now be subject to EU asset-freezing and travel bans until compliance is forthcoming. Particularly worrying is the advantage gained from Mali’s internal strife by extremist Islamist factions. The al-Qa’ida and the Islamist Maghreb, for instance, are almost certainly responsible for a series of barbaric kidnappings and murders aimed at westerners in this fragile region. I therefore now call upon the Vice-President/High Representative to mobilise EU resources to aid the constructive efforts of ECOWAS (the Economic Community of West African States) in restoring Mali’s territorial integrity and to engage fully alongside the UN with the newly-installed interim President Traoré to help build a democratic Mali based on the rule of law and with the aid of new, free and fair elections.