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Mali rebels suspend peace talks

September 27, 2013

Tuareg separatists in Mali have said they are suspending talks with the government. The three organizations representing the Tuaregs accused Bamako of failing to respect commitments agreed in a June peace treaty.

Tuareg rebels
Image: picture-alliance/Ferhat Bouda

The three Tuareg groups in a joint statement on Thursday said they were suspending implementatin of the peace agreement signed with Mali's government in the capital of neighboring Burkina Faso, Ouagadougou, in June.

"Following multiple difficulties implementing the Ouagadougou agreement, mainly caused by non-observance by the Malian government of its commitments, [we have] decided to suspend participation in the structures of implementation of the agreement," the statement said.

The separatist groups said, comprising of the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), High Council for the Unity of Azawad (HCUA) and the Arab Movement of Azawad (MAA), did not give details on the difficulties mentioned.

They called, however, for an emergency meeting of all parties to the peace agreement.

No comment yet

There has been no immediate comment from President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita's government or the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali on the interruption.

In 2012 a Tuareg uprising in the north of the country led to an army coup in the capital Bamako and the overthrow the democratically-elected government of the-then Malian president Amadou Toumani Toure.

The Tuareg seized control of an area larger than France in the chaos that followed, only to be ousted by al Qaeda-linked Islamist groups.

They, in turn, were driven out by a French-led ground and air offensive, allowing the Tuareg separatists to recapture their traditional northern stronghold.

The Ouagadougou accord brought an end the crisis and allowed the military to return to the northern provincial capital of Kidal, some 18 months after they had fled the area. It also enabled national elections to take place in July.

Under the agreement, peace talks were expected to begin by late November.

Tuareg separatists are seeking autonomy for northern Mali, which they call 'Azawad' - something the central government is unwilling to discuss.

ccp/upj (AFP, Reuters, AP)