News / Africa

Militant Group in Mali Ready to Negotiate

Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore (R) meets with delegation of Ansar Dine for talks on Mali Nov. 6, 2012 in Ouagadougou
Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore (R) meets with delegation of Ansar Dine for talks on Mali Nov. 6, 2012 in Ouagadougou
TEXT SIZE - +
Anne Look
— One of the three armed al-Qaida-linked militant groups in control of northern Mali since April says it rejects all ties to terrorism and is ready to negotiate with Mali's transitional authorities.

A spokesman for the delegation from the Malian Islamist group, Ansar Dine, read the declaration following a meeting with Burkinabe President Blaise Compaore Tuesday in Ouagadougou.

Spokesman Mohamed Aharib says Ansar Dine reiterates its availability to open a "frank and constructive dialogue" with Mali's transitional authorities.  In the interest of creating an environment of confidence and security, he says, Ansar Dine pledges to observe a complete halt in hostilities to guarantee the free movement of people and goods and to facilitate humanitarian aid in the zones under its control.  Ansar Dine, he says, "rejects all form of extremism and terrorism" and pledges to fight organized, cross-border crime.

Ansar Dine is one of four armed groups active in northern Mali where it and other al-Qaida-linked groups are imposing a harsh interpretation of Islamic law, known as Sharia, that has included executions, amputations and other human rights abuses.

A VOA reporter in Ouagadougou pressed the delegation's spokesman, Aharib, on whether Ansar Dine is ready to give up its demands for Sharia.

He says Sharia is another matter and this is not the place to discuss it.

President Compaore is leading regional mediation efforts on behalf of ECOWAS - the Economic Community of West African States - aimed at isolating Ansar Dine and the other Malian armed movement, the Tuareg separatist group the MNLA, from foreign jihadist groups.

Northerners, however,say that there is significant crossover between the three armed Islamist groups in northern Mali, and it is unclear what - if any - impact negotiations with top officials from Ansar Dine could have on the ground.  

The delegation has been in Ouagadougou talking to Burkinabe officials since Friday.  Ansar Dine has also been carrying out talks with Algerian authorities.

Burkina Faso's foreign affairs minister, Djibril Bassole, said he hoped all armed groups in northern Mali would heed the call made by Ansar Dine, in its declaration Tuesday, to stop hostilities and join in talks with the government.

Bassole says he hopes they will abstain from violent acts and abuses of power that serve as useless provocation.  He says in the coming days, he hopes to see Mali's transitional government designate a delegation to enter into direct contact with the Malian armed groups in the hopes of "normalizing" the situation in northern Mali.

ECOWAS continues to prepare for war in northern Mali, even as it seeks to bring local armed groups, like Ansar Dine, to the negotiating table.

ECOWAS defense chiefs met Tuesday in Bamako, where they finalized the strategic plans for an internationally-backed, regional military intervention to retake the North by force.

The Ivorian army chief, General Soumaila Bakayoko, is the president of ECOWAS Defense Chiefs of Staff Committee.

Bakayoko says the ECOWAS mission will bring "peace, security and stability" to the region and the continent.  He called on those present, as well as their individual countries and armies, to act with determination to implement the strategic concept adopted Tuesday to liberate northern Mali.

You May Like

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid