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Mali, Tuaregs Reach Election Deal

  • VOA News

Burkina Faso's Foreign Minister Djibrill Basole speaks to media after meeting with representatives of Tuareg rebels and Malian government on June 10, 2013 at the presidential palace in Ouagadougou.

Burkina Faso's Foreign Minister Djibrill Basole speaks to media after meeting with representatives of Tuareg rebels and Malian government on June 10, 2013 at the presidential palace in Ouagadougou.

A senior mediator says the Malian government and ethnic Tuareg rebels have agreed "in principle" on a deal that would allow elections to take place next month and the army to return to the rebel-held city of Kidal.

Burkina Faso Foreign Minister Djibril Bassole said late Monday both sides were reviewing the document, and that he expected them to sign the accord on Tuesday.

Bassole says the army's return to Kidal was a key concern in three days of talks in Ouagadougou mediated by Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore.

Mali wants to re-establish government control and security in Kidal, which the Tuareg separatist group MNLA seized earlier this year. The rebels took the city after French forces ousted Islamist militants who had ruled northern Mali for 10 months.

In recent days, Malian soldiers and MNLA rebels have clashed repeatedly as the army pushes towards Kidal.

Human rights groups have accused both sides of rights abuses and there is concern that the ongoing violence could disrupt elections set for July 28.
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