“Malian Rebel Alliance Signs Peace Deal with Government”
Reuters, June 20, 2015
“An alliance of Tuareg-led rebels and the Malian government signed a peace deal on Saturday meant to draw a line under a 2012 uprising and allow the authorities to focus on tackling Islamist militants in the desert north. The Algerian-brokered deal, signed by a representative of the rebel Coordination of Movements of Azawad (CMA), grants greater autonomy to sparsely populated northern Mali in a bid to end a cycle of four uprisings since independence from France in 1960. The Algiers Accord had been signed in May by a coalition of loyalist armed groups but the CMA held out for concessions on the return of refugees, security arrangements and development plans for the region. These were agreed with the government this month. … However, the north remains prey to attacks by jihadist groups, and some 140,000 Malians remain abroad as refugees. … The application of this accord will be complicated by the division of fighters into competing splinter groups. Analysts say some northern factions vie for control of smuggling routes to north Africa. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told reporters in Cairo that the deal differed from previous pacts because it would be monitored by the international community, including France. The deal has, however, left the issue of Azawad’s political identity for a national debate between Malian parties. The government has said it is prepared to devolve more authority under Mali’s existing decentralised structure, but rejects demands for full autonomy within a federal system.”
Quickie analysis: A rare bit of good news coming out of the Sahel.