Friday, September 22

Secret negotiations between the Senegalese state &MFDC could lead to lasting peace

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Negotiations between Senegal and the Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance (MFDC), which began in 2014, remained secret until the end of the discussions on Thursday in Bissau.

For the record, the document of the peace agreement was initialed by Admiral Papa Farba Sarr, coordinator Ad hoc State Committee, César Atoute and Lanssane Fabouré, officials of the MFDC, and facilitators from the ranks of HD and of the Bissau-Guinean Army.

Until the end of the process, everything remained confidential… Thanks to the facilitation of the Henry Dunant Center for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD), the State and the Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance (MFDC) see each other, since 2014, for the return of peace in the South.

The foundations for a “fruitful” dialogue have been laid to put an end to the armed conflict, which has plagued the development of the South for 40 years. On June 12, 2019, the Ad-Hoc State Negotiating Committee and the Interim Committee of the Unified Political and Combatant Wings of the MFDC met in Banjul for a get-together meeting. The foundations for a relationship of trust are laid, culminating in the holding of a second meeting in Toubacouta on November 4 and 5, 2020. On that day, the two parties, guided by the frantic search for peace, measured the way to go and agree on the signing of a memorandum on December 16, 2020 in Toubacouta, after a third meeting.

The 7 key meetings

Despite the Army’s search operations in the rebel cantonments, the communication channel operates without interruption. The organisation of a fourth meeting, on April 8 and 9, 2021 in Praia, leads to the adoption of a joint declaration on the axes that should guide the negotiations between the parties who have reaffirmed their desire to resolve the conflict through dialogue.

On July 14 and 15, 2021, negotiators pledged to find a peaceful solution to the crisis. It was in the Cape Verdean capital. It was on this date that the discussions on the laying down of arms were put in the conductor. And the State is committed to taking decisions to facilitate this measure. They returned to Praia on November 17 and 18, 2021 (6th meeting), chose Cape Verde as an observer of the process, deepened the discussions, in a “frank and open” manner on the laying down of arms.

Bissau is just the grand finale… Represented respectively by Admiral Papa Farba Sarr, César Atoute Badiate and Lanssane Fabouré, the State and the MFDC initialed in the Bissau-Guinean capital on August 3 and 4, under the auspices of Mballo, the peace agreements in “strict respect for the Constitution”. Under the auspices of President Embaló, whose country is the guarantor of the discussions, the MFDC, which undertakes to lay down its arms, will give details of its armament. With the establishment of a Joint Commission for the supervision and monitoring of the laying down of arms…, what is the counterpart? The State will guarantee the safety of combatants who renounce their arms, the continuation of dialogue in a peaceful and secure atmosphere to finalise the peace agreement in a definitive and diligent manner, thanks to the facilitation of HD, which will remain the transmission belt between the parties.