Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

A landslide victory for the 'invisible candidate' in Algeria's Presidential polls

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 18 April 2014

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 18 April 2014 (part 2)

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Presidential adviser resigns over "shoe-shine scandal"

Read more

#THE 51%

Breaking stereotypes

Read more

#TECH 24

Galaxy S5 v. HTC One (M8): Which is the right one for you?

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

New PM Manuel Valls outlines priorities

Read more

FASHION

Jean-Marc Loubier, bags and shoes.

Read more

ENCORE!

Hip-hop musician Beat Assailant on mixing the sounds of the city

Read more

  • Bouteflika, the ghost president

    Read more

  • Algeria's ailing Bouteflika clinches fourth term amid fraud claims

    Read more

  • Does Valls’ upcoming Vatican trip violate French secularism?

    Read more

  • Police arrest S. Korea ferry captain for negligence

    Read more

  • Ukraine separatists say ‘not bound’ by Geneva deal

    Read more

  • Obama signs bill to block controversial Iran diplomat from UN post

    Read more

  • Abel Ferrara’s hotly awaited DSK film to premiere on web

    Read more

  • World honours Garcia Marquez’s magical literary legacy

    Read more

  • Ukraine: ‘One bloody incident could scupper Geneva deal’

    Read more

  • Top Hollande adviser resigns over conflict of interest accusation

    Read more

  • Indian election: Votes for sale

    Read more

  • West African Ebola outbreak caused by new strain of virus

    Read more

  • Astronomers discover Earth-like planet that could support life

    Read more

  • Video: Tensions remain high in Mariupol despite Geneva deal

    Read more

  • In Prijedor, survivors fight to keep memory alive

    Read more

  • Deadly avalanche strikes Everest in worst-ever disaster

    Read more

  • With a strong French presence, veterans and fresh faces, Cannes aims to please

    Read more

  • Russia and West agree on steps to ease Ukraine crisis

    Read more

  • Mob launches deadly attack on UN shelter for S. Sudan civilians

    Read more

  • Eurostar train mishap causes 'severe' delays

    Read more

  • Chelsea Clinton announces she's pregnant

    Read more

  • French troops free five aid workers kidnapped in Mali by Islamists

    Read more

  • In pictures: Iranian woman pardons son’s killer at the gallows

    Read more

  • After cup defeat, Spanish pundits read last rites for Barcelona

    Read more

  • India heads to polls in single largest day of voting

    Read more

Africa

Unity plans between Tuaregs and Islamists in North Mali collapse

©

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-05-29

Plans for Tuareg rebels and Islamist group Ansar Dine to join forces and proclaim an independent Islamic state in the north have collapsed, the groups said Tuesday. Regional and Western leaders fear such a state could become al-Qaeda's safe haven.

AFP - Plans for Tuareg rebels and hardline Islamist group Ansar Dine to join forces and proclaim an Islamic state in northern Mali have collapsed due to fundamental differences, the two sides said Tuesday.

"We have refused to approve the final statement because it is different from the protocol agreement which we have signed," said Ibrahim Assaley, the Tuareg rebel National Liberation Front of Azawad (FNLA).

Moussa Ag Asherif, close to Ansar Dine head Iyad Ag Ghaly, confirmed the impasse in talks which came just 48 hours after the two groups announced their plans for joint domination of the remote desert region.

Regional and Western leaders have long feared a breakaway state in Mali's restive north could become Al-Qaeda's main safe haven.

A draft of the statement by Ansar Dine (Defenders of Faith) spoke of applying "pure and hard" Islamic Sharia law and banning non-Muslim humanitarian groups from the area, Assaley told AFP by phone from Gao, where the unity talks took place.

"It is as if they want us to dissolve into Ansar Dine," complained the representative of the secular Tuareg rebels. "That is unacceptable."

Asherif said the original accord had been merely a basis for working discussions and that the deal was on a "take it or leave it" basis. Ag Ghaly would travel to Gao on Tuesday morning "to solve the problem", he added.

Ansar Dine is backed by Al-Qaeda's north African branch, known as Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

The original declaration of a separate Islamic state in Mali's vast desert north, an area larger than France, had come at the weekend.

The short-lived accord was hammered out after weeks of sometimes fraught discussions between two groups that have long held separate objectives and ideologies.

In January, the Tuareg rebels launched an offensive against the Malian army, which was heightened with the arrival on the scene of Ansar Dine, which wants Islamic Sharia law imposed throughout the land-locked west African nation.

A coup by Captain Amadou Sanogo and a group of low-ranking officers ousted the government in Bamako on March 22, saying it was handling the Tuareg rebellion incompetently.

But the coup only opened the way for the Tuaregs, Ansar Dine -- led by the charismatic Ag Ghaly -- and criminal groups to occupy the north.

Mali's embattled transitional government had swiftly rejected the embryonic rebel alliance's declaration.

"The government of Mali categorically rejects the idea of the creation of an Azawad state, even more so of an Islamic state," Hamadoun Toure, information minister in the transitional administration, told AFP on Sunday.

The West African bloc ECOWAS on Monday also rejected the rebel declaration of independence and repeated an earlier threat to take "all necessary measures" to keep Mali intact.

The 15-nation Economic Community of West African States "denounces in the strongest possible terms this opportunistic act," said a statement signed by ECOWAS head Desire Kadre Ouedraogo.

It said the move would "only worsen the situation for a population that has already been the victim of all sorts of atrocities and hardships in the occupied area of Mali, as well as expose the entire region to the most serious dangers regarding peace and security".

Mali's transitional leaders have stressed their wish to restore the country's territorial integrity but seem unable to guarantee their own safety, let alone mount a credible challenge against the north's new masters.

The uncertain security situation was highlighted by a recent assault on 70-year-old interim president Dioncounda Traore.

Some 50 people have been arrested in the investigation into the attack, the government announced Monday.

Traore's entourage said tests had revealed nothing alarming and that he was expected back in Mali in the coming week following a trip to Paris for medical attention.

 

Date created : 2012-05-29

  • MALI

    Interim Mali PM meets ECOWAS chief over crisis

    Read more

  • MALI

    Mali's interim president beaten unconscious by mob

    Read more

  • MALI

    Coup leaders call for talks with rebel Islamist groups

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)