The ECOWAS Commission on Friday denounced the declaration of independence by the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) for the North of Mali.
The condemnation is contained in a statement by Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo, the President of the Commission, and made available to newsmen in Abuja.
The MNLA on Friday declared independence for Mali’s Northern Tuareg Region, which has been fighting the central government in Bamako for more than a decade.
The president said that the declaration was considered ``null and void and of no effect” and stressed that the commission would take all necessary measures, including the use of force, to ensure the territorial integrity of Mali.
“The Commission wishes to remind all the armed groups in the North of Mali that Mali is one and indivisible entity,’’ the statement stressed.
It restated the commitment of ECOWAS to the unity and territorial integrity of Mali and its stand not to recognise any unlawful proclamation of any part of Mali as a sovereign state.
Meanwhile, the U.S., in a statement said it did not “recognise the statement by the MNLA announcing independence as valid”.
The statement from the U.S. Department of State, made available to newsmen in Abuja also reiterated the support of the U.S on the unity of Mali.
“We stand by the African Union, France, and others in their statements rejecting the MNLA’s announcement and calling for the unwavering commitment to the national unity of Mali.
“A separate Azawad state will only exacerbate the grave problems challenging the Malian state,” the statement said.
The U.S also reiterated its call on MNLAto cease all military operations and engage in dialogue with civilian leaders to find a nonviolent path forward for national elections and a peaceful coexistence in Mali.