The junta in power in Mali announced Thursday evening, January 25, the “end with immediate effect” of the important Algiers agreement signed in 2015 with independence groups in the north of the country, long considered essential for stabilizing the country. The junta invoked “the change in posture of certain signatory groups”, but also “the acts of hostility and exploitation of the agreement on the part of the Algerian authorities of which the country is the leader of the mediation”, indicates a press release read on state television by Colonel Abdoulaye Maïga, spokesperson for the government installed by the military.

The agreement was already considered moribund since the resumption in 2O23 of hostilities between the Malian army and the predominantly Tuareg independence groups in the North, in the wake of the withdrawal of the United Nations mission (Minusma), pushed towards the exit by the junta after ten years of presence. The agreement received an additional blow on December 31 when the head of the junta, Colonel Assimi Goïta, announced during his New Year’s greetings the establishment of a “direct inter-Malian dialogue”, therefore without international mediation contrary to the Algiers agreement.

The government “notes the absolute inapplicability” of the Algiers agreement “and, therefore, announces its end, with immediate effect”, specifies the press release. “All negotiation channels are now closed,” Mohamed El Maouloud Ramadane, spokesperson for the Permanent Strategic Framework, an alliance of armed groups who signed the 2015 agreement before taking up arms again in 2023, told AFP “We have no choice but to fight this war imposed on us by this illegitimate junta with whom dialogue is impossible,” he said.

Deterioration of relations between Mali and Algeria

The formalization of the end of the agreement is part of a series of ruptures carried out by the military who took power by force in 2020. They broke the old alliance with France and its European partners to turn towards Russia and made Minusma leave. It comes in a climate of profound deterioration in relations between Mali and its big neighbor Algeria, with which Bamako shares hundreds of kilometers of border.

Colonel Maïga read another vigorous communiqué on Thursday evening, specifically against Algeria. The government “notes with great concern a multiplication of unfriendly acts, cases of hostility and interference in the internal affairs of Mali by the authorities” of Algeria, it specifies. He denounces “an erroneous perception of the Algerian authorities who consider Mali as their backyard or a doormat state, against a backdrop of contempt and condescension.”

Among various grievances, the junta accuses Algeria of hosting representative offices of certain groups that signed the 2015 agreement and have become “terrorist actors”. The Malian regime “demands that the Algerian authorities immediately cease their hostility.”

Thousands of combatant and civilian deaths

The predominantly Tuareg groups, which had risen several times in the past, took up arms again in 2012 for independence or autonomy for the North. The insurgency opened the way for radical Islamist groups who supplanted the separatists and conquered most of this part of the country, triggering a military intervention by France and plunging the Sahel into war.

After a ceasefire in 2014, predominantly Tuareg armed groups signed the so-called Algiers peace agreement in 2015 with the government and loyalist groups fighting alongside it, which provided for more local autonomy and the integration of combatants into a so-called “reconstituted” army, under the authority of the State.

Jihadists continue to fight the State under the banner of Al-Qaeda or the Islamic State organization. The violence, which left thousands of combatants and civilians dead and millions displaced, spread to central Mali, neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger, in turn the scenes of military coups in 2022 and 2023 .