Mali president vows to respect peace deal

2015-03-24 07:55
Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. (File: AP)

Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. (File: AP)

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Algiers - Mali's government will do all it can to meet its commitments under a peace agreement with Tuareg-led rebels, President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita said in Algiers on Monday.

"We will do everything to keep our commitments in the document signed in Algiers on March 1 with our brothers," Boubacar Keita said after being received by his Algerian counterpart Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

The Algiers Agreement, hammered out over eight months of tough negotiations, aims to bring a lasting peace to a sprawling area of northern desert that the rebels refer to as "Azawad".

It has been signed by Mali's government and smaller armed groups but Tuareg-led rebels under the banner of the Co-ordination for the Movements of Azawad (CMA) have sought more talks.

Recognition and compensation

The rebels have been calling for "recognition and compensation by the state of Mali" and "recognition of Azawad as a political, legal and territorial entity".

But Boubacar Keita, who began a three-day visit to Algiers on Monday, described the agreement already in place as "a new beginning".

"It's an agreement that opens up new avenues for the country, for its reconstruction and for Mali in peace, soothed and reconciled," said the Malian leader.

The intention of the accord, he said, was to "rebuild and develop the country for each party to feel proud of belonging to" Mali.

Boubacar Keita said he was "optimistic" the rebels would sign up to the peace agreement.

Divided into rival armed factions, plagued by drug trafficking and at the mercy of jihadism, Mali's desert north has struggled for stability since the west African nation gained independence in 1960.

Read more on:    ibrahim boubacar keita  |  mali  |  west africa

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