Tags: Mali | conflict | Algeria

Official: Mali Rebels to Initial Peace Deal on Thursday

Wednesday, 13 May 2015 02:31 PM

Mali's Tuareg-led rebel alliance will initial a peace accord within 24 hours that was drawn up with the government to bring stability to the conflict-hit west African nation, Algerian mediators said on Wednesday.

Abdelaziz Benali Cherif, a spokesman for Algeria's foreign ministry, confirmed that the Coordination of Azawad Movements (CMA) would signal its commitment to the document, thrashed out over months under U.N. auspices, in Algiers on Thursday.

A rebel leader and a security source told AFP on Tuesday the various armed groups making up the CMA would meet in Algiers on Wednesday to agree "in principle" to the deal, despite a recent upsurge in violence between the two sides.

A source from the international mediation team in the peace process said in Bamako on Wednesday the delegations were expected to arrive in Algiers in the evening alongside Mongi Hamdi, the head of the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Mali.

In diplomatic language, "initialing" a deal is an agreement in principle that there is no need for further discussion on the details. But because it stops short of signing the document, it means the deal cannot be implemented.

The agreement is due to be signed officially on Friday in Bamako in the presence of around a dozen heads of state and government.

Mali was upended by a coup in 2012 which opened the door for Tuareg separatists to seize the towns and cities of the vast northern desert with the help of several Islamist groups.

The country has since returned to democracy but remains deeply divided between its northern Tuareg and Arab populations and the southern sub-Saharan ethnic groups they accuse of marginalizing them.

The Malian government and a coalition of armed groups known as the Platform have already initialed the peace accord.

But the CMA has said it will not accept a deal without an amendment recognizing "Azawad," the name used by the Tuareg for the northern part of Mali, as a "geographic, political and juridical entity."

The CMA issued a statement early on Wednesday lamenting its failure to secure the amendments it was seeking but it resolved to initial the document before the opening of "intermediate discussions between initialing and signature."

The alliance said it could "only deplore the current blockages due to the obstinacy of the Malian government in trying to impose a settlement plan that does not have the support of the people of Azawad," ruling out taking part in Friday's ceremony.

Experts have pointed to fissures within the CMA, however, and two of its five groups are likely to rubber-stamp the deal on Friday, according to the mediation source.

© AFP 2017

 
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Africa
Mali's Tuareg-led rebel alliance will initial a peace accord within 24 hours that was drawn up with the government to bring stability to the conflict-hit west African nation, Algerian mediators said on Wednesday.
Mali, conflict, Algeria
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2015-31-13
Wednesday, 13 May 2015 02:31 PM
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