Mali on Brink of Peace Deal

Mali on Brink of Peace Deal

Mali’s Tuareg-led rebel alliance prepared Saturday to sign a landmark deal to end years of unrest in a nation riven by ethnic divisions and in the grip of a militant insurgency.
The Algiers Accord aims to bring stability to the country’s vast northern desert, cradle of several Tuareg uprisings since the 1960s and a sanctuary for insurgents linked to Al-Qaeda.
The document was signed in May by the government and loyalist militias but the Coordination of Azawad Movements (CMA), a coalition of rebel groups, had been holding out until amendments were agreed two weeks ago, France24 reported.
The peace accord, hammered out over months under the auspices of the UN, calls for the creation of elected regional assemblies but not autonomy or federalism, in deference to government concerns of separatism.
The Malian government and several armed groups signed the document on May 15 in Bamako, in a ceremony spurned by the CMA.
The rebels finally agreed to commit on June 5 after winning concessions, including a stipulation that its fighters be included in a security force for the north, and that residents of the north be represented in government institutions.
Mali was shaken by a coup in 2012 that cleared the way for Tuareg separatists to seize towns and cities of the north, an expanse of desert the size of Texas.
Al-Qaeda-linked militants then overpowered the Tuareg, taking control of northern Mali for nearly 10 months until they were ousted in a French-led military offensive.
The country remains deeply divided, with the Tuareg and Arab populations of the north accusing sub-Saharan ethnic groups in the more prosperous south of marginalizing them.


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