Mali gov't signs cease-fire accord with Tuareg rebels
By Romaric Ollo Hien, AFP
June 20, 2013, 12:05 am TWN
OUAGADOUGOU--Mali's government signed a cease-fire accord with Tuareg rebels Tuesday, paving the way for presidential elections in the troubled west African state next month.
The agreement, reached after 10 days of tense negotiations, will enable Malian troops to enter the Tuareg-held city of Kidal in the northeast to secure polls scheduled to take place on July 28.
The two sides agreed to halt hostilities and for Tuareg rebels, who took part in an uprising last year that brought the country to its knees, to be restricted to set areas. Long-term peace talks will start after the election.
Territorial Administration Minister Moussa Sinko Coulibaly signed the accord with representatives of two Tuareg movements in Ouagadougou, capital of neighboring Burkina Faso.
Mahamadou Djeri Maiga, vice president of the Tuareg National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), said the accord was a chance to “turn the page of hate.”