Mali to hold peace dialogue after scrapping deal with rebels

Mali's junta has set up a committee to organise a national peace dialogue after it scrapped a key 2015 peace deal with northern separatist groups following months of hostilities.

Algeria was the main mediator in efforts to return peace to northern Mali, following the agreement signed in its capital in 2015 between the Malian government and predominantly Tuareg armed groups.

"However, there will be no negotiations outside Bamako. We will no longer... go to a foreign country to speak about our problems," said the military-appointed head of government, Choguel Kokalla Maiga, in a video posted on social media on Friday.

The Algerian-brokered deal had already begun to unravel last year when fighting between the separatists and Mali government troops broke out in August after eight years of calm.

Both sides scrambled to fill the vacuum left by the withdrawal of United Nations peacekeepers.

In a statement read on state television on Thursday, the junta said it was no longer possible to continue with the agreement due to other signatories not sticking to their commitments, as well as "hostile acts" by chief mediator Algeria.

Malian authorities were angered when, in February, Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune rolled out the red carpet to former rebels who had signed the agreement. The statement described the ex-rebels as "terrorists".

(with AFP)

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