France, Algeria urge Mali factions to sign peace deal
France and Algeria on Tuesday urged Mali's warring factions to sign a peace deal between the Bamako government and northern rebel groups this week.
“We call in the clearest terms for the signing of this text, in the interest of peace in Mali and the region,” French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said during a press conference with his counterpart Ramtane Lamamra in Algiers.
The accord, which Fabius said must be signed and ratified “by both sides”, is due to be finalised on Friday in Bamako.
“We are confident that this process will be successful,” Lamamra told reporters.
Mali was upended by a coup in 2012 which opened the door for Tuareg separatists to seize the towns and cities of the vast northern desert with the help of several Islamist groups.
The Malian government and a coalition of armed groups known as the Platform have already initialled the peace accord, brokered by Algeria under UN auspices.
But a Tuareg alliance has said it will not accept a deal without an amendment recognising “Azawad”, the name used by the Tuareg for the northern part of Mali, as a “geographic, political and juridical entity”.
On Monday nine Malian soldiers were killed in a desert ambush by fighters from the country’s main Tuareg-led rebel alliance.