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France’s Hollande welcomes Tuareg rebels initial Mali peace deal

media Bilal Agh Cherif, secretary general of The Coordination of the Movements of Azawad (CMA), signs a preliminary peace agreement in Algiers, 14 May 2015. Reuters/Zohra Bensemra

French President François Hollande welcomed on Thursday Mali’s main Tuareg-led rebel alliance initialling a peace document and signing a comprehensive agreement in Algiers.

The peace agreement was already signed on 1 March by the government of Mali but not by the Tuareg rebel alliance.

In a statement on Thursday, Hollande “commends the Algerian mediation which has led the process for months, (…) and calls all the parties to sign the agreement.”

The coordination of Azawad Movements (CMA) said there would be further negotiations, following the initialing of the peace document, on the alliance’s political and security demands. “Once these requests are met, we will sign the agreement,” said Sidi Brahim Oud Sidat, a CMA official.

A coalition of armed groups from the North, known as Platform, has already initialled the peace accord, but CMA wants an amendment recognising “Azawad” as a “geographic, political and juridical entity.”

The peace agreement calls for the creation of regional assemblies but not autonomy or federalism as Bamako is concerned about separatism.

North of Mali was shaken by a coup in 2012 where towns were seized by several Islamist groups.

The government of Mali asked for foreign military help to re-take the north and a French military operation began against the Islamists in 2013.

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