Mali peace conference hit by boycott

2017-03-27 18:51
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Bamako- Former rebels and Mali's opposition parties on Monday boycotted a national summit enshrined in the country's 2015 peace deal, laying bare divisions with the government and armed groups it relies on for security.

The talks were agreed in the accord signed by Tuareg-led rebels, the government and pro-Bamako militias aimed at ending successive separatist uprisings in Mali's north, most recently in 2012, and to isolate jihadist groups.

"We want a united Mali and we are open," said President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita at the conference's opening ceremony, speaking only to his own delegates and commanders supportive of his rule, according to an AFP journalist at the scene.

The Coordination of Movements of Azawad (CMA), the former rebel alliance, and Mali's opposition groupings said a lack of consultation and time for preparation meant they would not attend.

"The parties involved have not been able to reach a consensus, taking into account our worries," a CMA statement said, describing failed sessions with international mediators.

The implementation of the peace accord struck has been piecemeal and insurgents who refused to sign the deal are still active across large parts of the country.

Mali's north fell under the control of jihadist groups linked to Al-Qaeda in 2012 who hijacked the rebel uprising, though the Islamists were largely ousted by a French-led military operation in January 2013.

Read more on:    mali  |  west africa

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