[QODLink]
Africa

Mali's armed groups accept dialogue plan

Three groups from north agree to begin talks with government as UN gives warning on regional instability.

Last updated: 16 Jun 2014 12:59
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Three armed groups have agreed to engage with the government on the path of 'dialogue and negotiations'

Three armed groups from northern Mali have agreed to begin peace talks with the government aimed at resolving long-standing disputes in the country.

The National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), the High Council for the Unity of Azawad (HCUA) and the Arab Movement of Azawad (MAA) signed the Algiers Declaration on Sunday, demanding "inclusive" talks with the Bamako government.

In the declaration, the groups agreed to engage with the government on the path of "dialogue and negotiations", in exchange for the release of prisoners and better conditions for the return of refugees.

The region will be in danger if there is no reconciliation

Albert Gerard Koenders, MINUSMA

The head of the UN mission in Mali, Albert Gerard Koenders, said warned the entire region was in danger if peace was not restored to the north.

"The region will be in danger if there is no reconciliation," state television quoted Koenders as saying.

On Friday, Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, called for the immediate implementation of a cease-fire agreement following the resumption of hostilities.

Ban said the conflict had created "an altered security landscape in the north of Mali with risks for international security".

He said armed groups operating in the north posed a significant threat to civilians, UN peacekeepers and the delivery of humanitarian aid.

The troubled north fell under control of ethnic Tuareg separatists and then al-Qaeda-linked fighters following a military coup in 2012.

Fighters linked to al-Qaeda gained the upper hand over the Tuaregs in several towns before military intervention by France in January 2013 helped drive the armed fighters away to the desert.

Last year, Tuareg leaders signed a ceasefire agreement with the government requiring the rebels to garrison their fighters prior to disarmament which has yet to happen.

Since 2003, northern Mali has been battling al-Qaeda's North African branch, which has used the country's vast deserts north of Kidal to train fighters, amass arms and prepare for war.

335

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Featured
Lacking cohesive local ground forces to attack in tandem, coalition air strikes will have limited effect, experts say.
Hindu right-wing groups run campaign against what they say is Muslim conspiracy to convert Hindu girls into Islam.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
Muslim caretakers maintain three synagogues in eastern Indian city, which was once home to a thriving Jewish community.
Amid fresh ISIL gains, officials in Anbar province have urged the Iraqi government to request foreign ground troops.