Mali-US Overview

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US and Malian Relations

Posted on February 26, 2013 by iajohnson

MALI-US Relations

Mali and the United States established diplomatic relations in 1960, following its independence from France. In 1992, Mali moved from a one-party state to multiparty democracy. In March 2012, Mali's elected civilian government was removed in a military seizure of power, and an interim government was subsequently put in place. An rebellion in northern Mali waged primarily by the MNLA Tuareg group, which began in January 2012, forced hundreds of thousands of Malians from their homes. Mali continues to face security challenges in the north from Al Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and other armed extremist groups.

Prior to March 2012, U.S.-Malian relations were excellent and were based on shared goals of strengthening democracy and reducing poverty through economic growth. The United States continues to call on Mali’s interim government to hold presidential elections that are free of interference by the military by July 2013. The United States also calls on the rebel groups in northern Mali to renounce any connection with terrorist groups and enter into legitimate political negotiations. A strong, stable, democratic government in Mali is essential in order for the country to deal successfully with its multiple economic, social, political, and security challenges.

U.S. Assistance to Mali

Prior to March 2012, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Peace Corps, and other U.S. Government programs aimed to foster sustainable economic and social development in Mali. USAID programs also sought to support the peace process in northern Mali and consolidate the region's socioeconomic and political integration.

Defense Department security assistance programs and training support sought to build Mali’s capacity to meet its various security challenges. In 2006, the Millennium Challenge Corporation signed a 5-year compact with Mali aimed at increasing agricultural production and productivity and expanding Mali’s access to markets and trade. The compact entered into force in September 2007.

As a result of the March 2012 military seizure of power, the United States terminated all assistance to the Government of Mali and suspended all assistance to Mali with the exception of humanitarian assistance, food security, health, and elections support, which are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Security situation in the Northern parts of Mali

On february 2013, Senator Christopher Coons, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on Africa, was leading the first American congressional visit to Mali since France sent a military force there, on january, 2013, to halt an offensive by al Qaeda-allied insurgents.

The United States has been providing airlift and refueling support for the French-led operation involving thousands of French and African troops that has driven the Islamist rebels from a string of northern Malian towns.

Washington has also been sharing intelligence to back the operation.

Coons, heading a four-member delegation from the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, said both French and African military commanders were happy with the support that Washington was providing, but he indicated they might welcome more.

The U.S. government will resume aid to Mali after national elections scheduled for July. The new aid package ought to include large sums for security and governance, with emphasis on training and education to develop professional military officers, police chiefs and civil servants. In the meantime, large numbers of foreign advisers are required.

Bilateral Economic Relations

Mali's exports to the United States include gold, art, and antiques, while imports from the United States include machinery, aircraft, fats and oils, pharmaceutical products, and plastics. The United States has a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement with the West African Economic and Monetary Union, of which Mali is a member.

US-Mali's Membership in International Organizations

Mali and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization.

 

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