Menaka peace forum agreement was on Friday declared open in Mali.
The inter-community meeting which is expected to last for three days in the region close to Gao, north of the country, will feature traditional leaders and representatives of armed groups in the north of the country.
The UN mission will also be represented at the event which will mark the progress of the implementation of the peace agreement in the region.
In practical terms, we have live conferences together and social cohesion between all the communities.
The rebel groups had begun their attacks in January 2012 at Menaka, making the locality one of their base. A peace agreement has been signed since then. The Malian army has also initiated its gradual return to the city, as well as the national administration.
Raichatou Wallet Altanata is a member of the framework of the nationals of Menaka in Bamako who coordinated the organization of the meeting.“In practical terms, we have live conferences together and social cohesion between all the communities, because there are same problems between the communities in Menaka,” she explains.
Government had boycotted a forum last month held by the former rebels in the northern bastion of Kidal as the UN warned of an “alarming” security situation.
The ex-rebels had allegedly refused the government’s conditions that troops should be allowed into the city and the national flag be flown.
Government of Mali had not had any presence in Kidal for several years and the army was driven out in 2004.
Altanata said they hope that the forum will really be a framework for all the communities to talk, forgive one another, and implement the peace deal.
“We have also the implementation of the agreement for peace and reconciliation which has begun, and Menaka is part of this implementation because it is a new region which has been created. Therefore it is necessary to speak of these advances, it is really important,” she said.
The forum in Menaka, north of Mali is expected to bring a reconciliation on the peace agreement signed in 2015 between the ex-rebels and the government.