UN Mission chief says Mali accord a "critical" first stepListen /
The signing of a preliminary agreement by parties in Mali is an important first step towards full restoration of constitutional order and territorial integrity, according to the top UN official in the country.
In a briefing on Tuesday to the Security Council, Bert Koenders, head of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), says the accord paves the way for national elections and post-electoral dialogue.
"Although a first and preliminary step, the Agreement is critical, not only because of the forthcoming elections but also because it commits the parties to a post-electoral dialogue. For it to be successful, this dialogue would need to be comprehensive and inclusive, and tackle the root causes of the recurrent crises in Mali."
Mali's transitional government and armed groups from the north of the country signed the Preliminary Agreement on the Presidential Elections and Inclusive Negotiations in neighbouring Burkina Faso last week.
Koenders reports that preparations for the elections are underway, beginning with the presidential poll slated for the end of July.
Dianne Penn, United Nations.