Mali will talk to rebels, not foreigners

2012-04-15 22:16

Nouakchott - Mali's interim president is willing to open dialogue with Tuareg-led rebels and Islamists occupying the north of the West African country, but "armed foreign jihadist groups" among them should leave, a Malian envoy and mediator said on Sunday.

"We want to resolve the difficulties in the north of our country through dialogue and negotiation," Tiebile Drame, a prominent Malian politician and mediator for interim Malian President Dioncounda Traore, told Reuters in Nouakchott.

Mali has been divided in two since separatist MNLA rebels declared an independent Tuareg homeland in the north this month, following a March 22 military coup in the southern capital Bamako that led to the insurgents capturing key northern towns.

Drame, who opposed the Bamako coup, was accompanied by Mustapha Diko, an aide of Traore, who was sworn in on Thursday in a transition deal. Traore has vowed to restore Mali's territorial integrity, by military force if necessary.

The two envoys met Mauritanian President Mohamed Abdel Aziz to request his help in solving the Malian crisis, and said they also planned to meet MNLA rebel representatives in Nouakchott. "We've come to look for credible interlocutors," Drame said.

While offering dialogue to the MNLA, Drame said the separatist Tuareg rebels should bear in mind that no foreign government nor international organisation had recognised their declaration of an independent Azawad homeland in the north.

He recommended they withdraw this declaration of northern independence, saying this would "accelerate the dialogue that we want to have with them".

Drame said the rebels' occuption of major northern towns like Timbuktu and Gao had created a "humanitarian crisis" and added many residents there saw them as occupiers not liberators.

He made clear that the offer of talks did not extend to what he called "armed foreign jihadist groups" which had taken advantage of the lightning MNLA rebel advance southwards to establish themselves deeper in Malian territory.

This was a clear reference to members of al Qaeda who have been using north Mali, a vast and rugged area bigger than France, as a base from which to seize and hold Western hostages.

"We want those who are not Malian to quickly leave ... because they've no reason to be on our soil," Drame said.

He said the authorities in southern Mali had also been in contact with another of the principal north Mali rebel groups, the Islamist Ansar Dine movement led by veteran Tuareg insurgent Iyad Ag Ghali, whom he said "we know well".

Ag Ghali, he said, recently freed 161 Malian army prisoners captured during the rebel advance. "I think there are objective conditions for a frank and sincere discussion," Drame said.

The declaration of a Tuareg rebel homeland in northern Mali has raised fears among Western security experts that the remote, inhospitable zone could become a secure haven for al Qaeda and a "rogue state" in West Africa.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Friday it was essential to prevent a "terrorist or Islamic state" emerging in northern Mali.

Read more on:    dioncounda traore  |  mali  |  west africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

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

 
SPONSORED CONTENT
When is a mountain more than just a mountain? 2014-12-18 07:26

When it’s an adventure! A group of Old Mutual employees found out how much is enough courage, endurance and camaraderie to take on Africa's highest peak.

/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

Christmas lingerie to make this festive season the best one ever!
13 things you might not know about Disneyland
The craziest deaths of 2014
How to make this a sensual, sexy summer!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy 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

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

At last you are able to see the light. You are able to break through obstacles in an innovative and original way. Visualisation is...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.