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383 words - May 14, 2013 | © DiploNews, all rights reserved.
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)'s headquarters in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, hosted a first meeting of the Contact Group on the Mali crisis at the level of Ministers for Foreign Affairs on May 13. The meeting was aimed at "highlighting the critical dimensions of the crisis in Mali and its implications for the Sahel region," explained OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu.
The participants considered "ways of providing logistical and financial support" to improve the situation inside Mali and "protect" the surrounding region from "similar crises." On March 11, Mr. Ihsanoglu had requested Mr. Djibril Bassolé, his Special Envoy and the Foreign Minister of Burkina Faso, to lead the implementation of all OIC Resolutions on the conflict and devise a strategy that would focus on identifying its root causes. Turkey emerged as the most diplomatically active and most vocal country on the Jeddah meeting, DiploNews noticed.
On April 6 to 7, Malian Foreign Minister Tiéman Hubert Coulibaly met with his counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu in Ankara. The latter insisted on Turkey's support to the Road Map agreed by the Malian National Assembly on January 29 and declared that "Turkey, acting through the spirit of regional ownership and of finding settlement to the problems of Africa by Africans, will support all efforts which the African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) will make" in Mali.
"Turkey's main concern has been the preservation of sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of Mali", Mr. Davutoglu told his Islamic counterparts in Jeddah. In line with a bilateral Action Plan, Turkey has committed to developing its relations with Mali in "every fields" and proposed to host the next Contact Group meeting.
DiploNews pointed out that Turkey has talked extensively about Mali over the last few days, without ever mentioning in official statements or speeches the military intervention led by France against the Islamic extremist groups who were seriously threatening Mali's integrity. Turkey rather underlined the "serious challenges" that occurred "in conjunction with the developments unfolding since January 2012." Though any support towards Mali's unity is very welcomed, the Jeddah meeting missed the opportunity to acknowledge France's intervention was, is and will be instrumental in the "steps for the (good) realization of presidential elections."
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