News / Africa

    Mali, Tuaregs Fault France for Failing Peace Talks

    A Malian soldier speaks with Tuareg men Seydou (C) and Abdoul Hassan in the village of Tashek, outside Timbuktu, July 27, 2013.
    A Malian soldier speaks with Tuareg men Seydou (C) and Abdoul Hassan in the village of Tashek, outside Timbuktu, July 27, 2013.
    Reuters
    Mali's government and Tuareg separatists both accused France on Wednesday of not doing enough to resolve the political crisis, underscoring the difficulties Paris has in disengaging itself from its former colony.
     
    After winning adulation across Mali for a 5-month military offensive earlier this year that scattered al-Qaida fighters, France is caught in a tug of war between the government in Bamako and rebels demanding some form of autonomy based at Kidal in the north.
     
    Mali's interim government signed a peace agreement with Tuareg representatives in mid-June, allowing national elections to take place. As part of the deal, Bamako agreed to open talks over the Tuaregs' demands for more autonomy, but those negotiations have stalled.
     
    “The liberation of the country was done jointly [between French and Malian] troops up to Kidal, and then the Malian army was blocked,” Mali's newly-elected President Ibrahim Boubacar KeJita told le Monde newspaper in an interview.
     
    “For someone like me, a friend of France, I can see a negative reaction to the enthusiasm towards France by the Malian population that had lauded the intervention.”
     
    The comments come on the eve of a summit in Paris where France will try to persuade African leaders that it can no longer play policeman on the continent, even as it prepares to act in a new conflict in Central African Republic.
     
    Mali imploded last year when the Tuareg MNLA separatists tried to take control of the north. Their rebellion was soon hijacked by better-armed and funded Islamist militants linked to al-Qaida, before the French intervention in January.
     
    French troops cooperated with the MNLA who took control of the remote northeastern town of Kidal and surrounding areas after the Islamist fighters fled French air strikes into the nearby Adrar des Ifoghas mountains.
     
    But that on-the-ground cooperation, and France's public insistence that the MNLA should take part in talks on Mali's political future if it drops a demand for full independence for the north, is an irritant for Mali's military.
     
    “The international community is forcing us to negotiate on our soil with people who took up arms against the state,” Keita said. “I remind you that we are an independent state.”
     
    Under the June peace pact that allowed the government to return to Kidal ahead of elections, the rebels remain in Kidal but were required to return to their barracks under the supervision of U.N. peacekeepers, stop carrying arms in public and dismantle all roadblocks.
     
    The MNLA on November 29 said they were ending a five-month-old ceasefire with Mali's government and taking up arms, a day after Malian troops clashed with stone-throwing protesters who blocked a visit by the prime minister to Kidal.
     
    It said Bamako was not keeping to its side of the deal.
     
    Speaking in Paris, Moussa Ag Assarid, the MNLA's representative in Europe, said the group had been left with no alternative but to defend itself if attacked by Malian troops, given that the peace talks had seen no progress.
     
    Bamako was showing “no political desire” to move forward, and Paris was not taking control of the situation, he said.
     
    “If Paris does not take a courageous decision and assume its responsibilities then sadly we risk finding ourselves in a  terrible situation,” he told reporters.
     
    “France has a historic responsibility to find a solution. Why is [French President Francois] Hollande not trying to find a solution before the Malian government puts in place the same charade as in the past?”
     
    Officials at the French foreign ministry were not immediately available for comment.

    You May Like

    Russian-speaking Muslim Exiles Fear Possible Russia-Turkey Thaw

    Exiled from Russia as Islamic radicals and extremists, thousands found asylum in Turkey

    US Presidential Election Ends at Conventions for Territorial Citizens

    Citizens of US territories like Guam or Puerto Rico enjoy participation in US political process but are denied right to vote for president

    UN Syria Envoy: 'Devil Is in the Details' of Russian Aleppo Proposal

    UN uncertain about the possible humanitarian impact of Russian proposal to establish escape corridors in Aleppo

    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.
    Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Busi
    X
    July 28, 2016 4:16 AM
    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora