News / Africa

    Mali’s Rebel Groups Agree to End Hostilities

    Ethnic Tuareg and Arab militias from Mali meet on August 28, 2014 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, to talk about a homeland in northern Mali (called Azawad) they lay claim on, ahead of peace negotiations with the government.
    Ethnic Tuareg and Arab militias from Mali meet on August 28, 2014 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, to talk about a homeland in northern Mali (called Azawad) they lay claim on, ahead of peace negotiations with the government.
    Katarina Hoije

    Rebel groups from northern Mali have agreed to end hostilities and present a united front ahead of negotiations with the Malian government that begin in Algiers next week.  

    With peace talks between the rebels and the Bamako government around the corner, representatives from two rebel groupings have signed an agreement to end fighting and work towards a sustainable solution for northern Mali.
     
    The agreement was signed Thursday in Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou where the rebel groups - including the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad, the MNLA; the High Council for the Unity of Azawad, the HCUA; and Arab Movement of Azawad, the MAA - have gathered before negotiations starts on 1 September in Algiers.
     
    In recent months, clashes between the MNLA and the MAA have caused new displacements in the north.
     
    Positive step

    The agreement is a small but important step towards ending Mali’s 18-month long crisis. It started in 2012 with a Tuareg separatist rebellion and a military coup that fractured the country and led to Islamist extremists occupying Mali’s North. Ten months later the extremists were pushed out by international forces. Despite elections a year ago, violence continues in Mali’s north and talks are aimed at plotting a road map for reconciliation and unity.
     
    David Gressly, with the U.N. Stabilization Mission in Mali, MINUSMA, says he thinks all parties realize they share a common interest in a comprehensive agreement.
     
    “It is absolutely essential to have an agreement in the north of Mali if we want stability, a return of development, to remove the sense of isolation and marginalization that many in the North feel, even those who did not take arms in rebellion,” he said.
     
    The first round of discussions were held in July in Algiers.
     
    At that time representatives of six northern Mali armed groups, including the MNLA, the HCUA and also representatives from Songhay and Peuhl militias, met with a government delegation led by Mali Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop.  

    But the main challenge is reconciling the various agendas of the rebels factions says professor Issa N’Diaye at the University of Bamako.

    He says international pressure - especially from France which still has troops in Mali - will be essential to get the groups to reach an agreement.
     
    Questions remain

    The main issue on the agenda is the status of northern Mali, roughly two thirds of the country’s territory.
     
    While the separatist rebel groups have dropped claims for independence and opted for autonomy, it is still not clear what form it could take.  The government has been very clear on how far it willing to go.
     
    Prime Minister Moussa Mara says the goal is “a political and social solution that all parties can agree to within the limits drawn by the government.”
     
    Those limits mean that Mali will remain one inseparable country - with a secular government and the continued presence of the Malian Army and police throughout the territory.
     
    A definitive agreement would end 50 years of armed conflict sparked by decades of Tuareg separatist movements.
     

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora