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AU Condemns Latest Violence in Mali

FILE - 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. (file photo)

The African Union Mission to Mali and the Sahel has condemned the ongoing violence in Mali’s north and urged all parties, including Tuareg rebels, not to abandon peace talks.

Colonel Mor Mbow, the head of the AU mission's security unit said there is need to end the spate of violence in Mali.

The AU helped broker a cease-fire agreement between warring factions in Mali in May. Mbow said the continental body is committed to the peace process and is working with international partners to restore peace and stability in northern Mali.

“The AU is doing its best to make sure that the cease-fire is respected. The only thing I think is to make sure that we resume the peace talks,” said Mbow.

He said the AU mission is committed to ensuring the parties reach a settlement at the talks mediated by Algeria.

His comments followed threats by the Tuareg rebels to pull out of the peace talks and suspend coordination with the United Nations mission to northern Mali after seven of their fighters were killed by UN forces.

Mbow said the AU’s technical security commission met last week in an effort to supervise the peace process.

“We are part of all the process that [is] aimed at really the cessation of hostilities on the ground,” said Mbow.

Some residents in Mali’s north say the security challenges could get worse if the Tuareg rebels leave peace talks and refuse to coordinate with the UN mission.

Mbow however said it is unlikely the peace talks would be derailed.

“I don’t believe that the peace talks would be stopped. I think the international community, the African Union and the other members of the mediation are doing their best to make sure that the peace process continues,” said Mbow.

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