Mali, Tuaregs fault France on failing talks

2013-12-04 19:19
(Picture: AP)

(Picture: AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Paris - Mali's government and Tuareg separatists both accused France on Wednesday of not doing enough to resolve the political crisis, underscoring the difficulties Paris has in disengaging itself from its former colony.

After winning adulation across Mali for a 5-month military offensive earlier this year that scattered al-Qaeda fighters, France is caught in a tug of war between the government in Bamako and rebels demanding some form of autonomy based at Kidal in the north.

Mali's interim government signed a peace agreement with Tuareg representatives in mid-June, allowing national elections to take place. As part of the deal, Bamako agreed to open talks over the Tuaregs' demands for more autonomy, but those negotiations have stalled.

"The liberation of the country was done jointly [between French and Malian] troops up to Kidal, and then the Malian army was blocked," Mali's newly-elected President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta told le Monde newspaper in an interview.

"For someone like me, a friend of France, I can see a negative reaction to the enthusiasm towards France by the Malian population that had lauded the intervention."

The comments come on the eve of a summit in Paris where France will try to persuade African leaders that it can no longer play policeman on the continent, even as it prepares to act in a new conflict in Central African Republic.

Mali imploded last year when the Tuareg MNLA separatists tried to take control of the north. Their rebellion was soon hijacked by better-armed and funded Islamist militants linked to al-Qaeda, before the French intervention in January.

French troops cooperated with the MNLA who took control of the remote northeastern town of Kidal and surrounding areas after the Islamist fighters fled French air strikes into the nearby Adrar des Ifoghas mountains.

But that on-the-ground co=operation, and France's public insistence that the MNLA should take part in talks on Mali's political future if it drops a demand for full independence for the north, is an irritant for Mali's military.

"The international community is forcing us to negotiate on our soil with people who took up arms against the state," Keita said. "I remind you that we are an independent state."

Defend itself

Under the June peace pact that allowed the government to return to Kidal ahead of elections, the rebels remain in Kidal but were required to return to their barracks under the supervision of UN peacekeepers, stop carrying arms in public and dismantle all roadblocks.

The MNLA on 29 November said they were ending a five-month-old ceasefire with Mali's government and taking up arms, a day after Malian troops clashed with stone-throwing protesters who blocked a visit by the prime minister to Kidal.

It said Bamako was not keeping to its side of the deal.

Speaking in Paris, Moussa Ag Assarid, the MNLA's representative in Europe, said the group had been left with no alternative but to defend itself if attacked by Malian troops, given that the peace talks had seen no progress.

Bamako was showing "no political desire" to move forward, and Paris was not taking control of the situation, he said.

"If Paris does not take a courageous decision and assume its responsibilities then sadly we risk finding ourselves in a terrible situation," he told reporters.

"France has a historic responsibility to find a solution. Why is [French President Francois] Hollande not trying to find a solution before the Malian government puts in place the same charade as in the past?"

Officials at the French foreign ministry were not immediately available for comment.

Read more on:    mali  |  west africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

Zuma: Pray for peaceful polls

President Jacob Zuma has asked members of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God to pray for peaceful elections on 7 May.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Friday Grabouw - 11:32 AM
    Road name: N2 Eastbound
    DELAYS between Sir Lowrys Pass and Grabouw
  • Friday Cape Town - 10:14 AM
    Road name: M3 Inbound
    EVENT - left lane closed between Rhodes Avenue and UCT
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Curve 3G 9300

Keep it together Text. Email. Social. With all the different ways to...

From R1399.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Self-indulgence may be strong today. You may want to enjoy yourself to the fullest and share it with those that make you feel...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.