Mali Govt., Rebel Factions Agree to Peace Talks

Burkina Faso to Mediate Ongoing Dispute

by Jason Ditz, December 04, 2012

Burkina Faso has been trying to mediate a truce in the northern Malian region of Azawad for awhile, and those talks have gotten their first hint of progress, as Foreign Minister Djibril Bassole confirmed that the Malian interim government is going to be involved in the next round of talks

The Malian delegation has been deployed to the Burkina Faso capital of Ouagadougou, where they will meet with both rebels from the Islamist Ansar Dine movement, and with the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (NMLA), a Tuareg secessionist bloc.

The situation in Azawad is complicated. The NMLA, awash with weapons from Libya’s civil war, took the whole region in short order, leading to a coup by the Malian military, which later installed an “interim” government. NMLA didn’t hold Azawad long, however, as Ansar Dine moved in shortly thereafter and took much of the region, eventually taking their last holdings in the far east last month.

NATO is keen to see the military’s new interim government take over the region, and has promised support for an African Union-led occupation. The AU’s ability to take over the region, after years flailing around in Somali with nothing close to a resolution, is in serious doubt however, and it seems the Malians may believe they have better luck negotiating some sort of settlement than waiting out a war.

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