Minusma: UN 'confident' rebels will sign Mali peace deal

2015-04-24 10:17
File: AP

File: AP

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Bamako - The UN peacekeeping chief in Mali has expressed confidence that holdout rebels will sign a contentious deal to bring stability to the conflict-hit nation before the looming deadline, the mission said on Thursday.

Mongi Hamdi, head of the United Nations' Minusma troops, offered President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita his "full support" for efforts to forge ahead with the deal, at a meeting on Wednesday, the force said in a statement.

"We remain hopeful and confident that the Algiers process will be successful with the signing of the agreement on May 15 by all stakeholders in Mali, because there is no other choice but to follow the logic of peace," Hamdi was quoted as saying after the meeting at the presidency.

The UN Security Council has urged the main Tuareg rebel alliance, known as the Co-ordination for the Movements of Azawad (CMA), to initial the deal along with the other parties or face sanctions.

Historic opportunity

The Malian government and a coalition of armed groups from the north known as the Platform have already signed the document, brokered by Algeria under UN auspices over the past eight months.

But the CMA has said it will not sign without an amendment recognising "Azawad", the name used by the Tuareg for the northern part of Mali, as a "geographic, political and juridical entity".

A delegation of international and African diplomats who came to Kidal, the Co-ordination's northern stronghold, on March 17 rejected the demand, as did the Bamako government.

The UN has described the March 1 peace accord as a "historic opportunity" for Mali following the Islamist takeover in the north in 2012 that brought the country to the brink of collapse.

Hamdi said signing the document was only "the first step in a long road to peace, security, reconciliation and development that assumes the continuation of dialogue".

Read more on:    un  |  minusma  |  mali  |  west africa

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