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Iran Press TV

Mali government signs peace deal, rebels ask for more time

Iran Press TV

Sun Mar 1, 2015 2:27PM

The Malian government has signed a peace deal with some rebel groups to end fighting in northern regions, but the main Tuareg rebel coalition has asked for more time for further consultations with its grassroots.

The peace agreement, brokered by the United Nations and neighboring Algeria, was signed on Sunday in Algiers.

The development came after eight months of tough negotiations between the Malian government and the militants in the Algerian capital.

The Tuareg alliance, which includes the main rebel group National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad, said it had asked for a "reasonable delay" for further consultations before signing the deal.

"An agreement that has not been shared with the people of the region has little chance of being implemented on the ground," an alliance representative said.

Under the deal, a raft of powers will be transferred from the Malian government to the country's violence-hit north.

"The agreement will be signed by all the groups," Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra said, adding, 'The delay asked by the rebel alliance was only an indication that they are trying "to secure the maximum support for the deal.'

Al-Qaeda-linked militants were in control of restive north, known as Azawad, for more than nine months before a military operation led by France in 2013 pushed them out of some parts of the region.

According to the agreement, local assemblies will be established under supervision of a directly-elected president and as of 2018, Mali's government will allocate 30 percent of its revenues to local authorities, especially in the north.

Moreover, the militants will be integrated into the Malian army and will be stationed in the country's' northern regions.

Mali's northern region has been restive since 1960s. Before the last rebellion in 2012, the region has witnessed several revolts by Tuareg separatists, who received training from Libya under long-time dictator, Muammar Gaddafi.


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