News / Africa

Mali Government, Rebels Hold Talks

Malian Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop (C) chairs a meeting on peace talks, attended by Mali's various warring factions for the first time since an interim agreement in June 2013, on July 16, 2014 in the Algerian capital Algiers.
Malian Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop (C) chairs a meeting on peace talks, attended by Mali's various warring factions for the first time since an interim agreement in June 2013, on July 16, 2014 in the Algerian capital Algiers.
Katarina Hoije

The Mali government and rebel groups begin meetings Wednesday in Algiers to hash out a final peace arrangement a year after returning to democracy.  The talks - which include African mediators - come amid this month's escalation of violence in the north, in violation of a May ceasefire.  Meanwhile French President Francois Hollande is expected in West Africa later this week to flesh out his new counter-terrorism strategy in the Sahel - which will replace the current French troop presence in northern Mali. 
 
Violent clashes and suicide attacks continue to plague northern Mali.  This, despite French military intervention, elections and  international mediation following a 2012 military coup which led to the country being torn apart by separatists.
 
In May, Mali's army suffered an embarrassing defeat at the hand of Tuareg separatists after an attempt to seize their stronghold Kidal. Last week more than 35 people were killed in clashes between the MNLA rebels, the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad and the MAA, the Arab Movement of Azawad. On Monday a suicide attack against a French army patrol killed one soldier and injured six.
 
The talks in Algeria are the first real effort to bring Mali's factions together to draw a road map on how to resolve differences.
 
President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita has signalled he is willing to compromise, but has ruled out any final deal which threatens Mali's territorial integrity or secularism.  To underscore this, al-Qaida-linked Islamist separatists groups - which occupied northern Mali in 2012 before being ousted by a French military offensive - have been excluded from negotiations.
 
Mediators from the African Union (AU) among other African groups will be facilitating these difficult talks.
 
Issaka Souare, the special adviser to the head of the AU mission, tolds VOA he is optimistic.   "The African Union in conjunction with other regional [groupings like] ECOWAS [The Economic Community of West African States], the UN, the European Union and others will do everything they can to ensure that we reach a conclusive agreement at the end of this process," he said.
 
Meanwhile, France has announced an end to its 18-month military operation known as Serval which effectively reunited Mali but has not completely stabilized it.  It will be replaced by a broader anti-terrorism operation in the Sahel region.
 
The new operation, called Barkhane, will involve security cooperation with Niger, Chad, Mali and other border nations.  It will see some 3,000 French soldiers deployed - with at least a third of them remaining in northern Mali.  It will also see France assist with drones, fighter jets and other military hardware.  
 
Alain Antil heads the sub-Saharan Africa program for the French Institute for International Relations in Paris.
 
He said operation Barkhane uses French troops already in Mauritania, Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso.  He says the new operation will give coherence to the French military presence in the Sahel and to the regional fight against terrorism.
 
French President Francois Hollande heads to West Africa Thursday with stops in Niger and Chad to hold talks with his counterparts on the operation. 

 

You May Like

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More