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Mali plans talks on reconciliation in north

September 10, 2013

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — Tuareg leaders and civil society groups have welcomed a proposal to begin talks with Mali’s new government, which was formed more than a year after the country lost half its territory to rebel groups including Tuareg separatists.

The talks, set to begin within two months, are intended to resolve longstanding issues in the undeveloped northern region that have fueled a cycle of rebellions stretching back decades. They will be organized by Cheick Ouamar Diarrah, who on Sunday was named reconciliation minister in the new cabinet serving under President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

Mohamed Ag Intalla, president of the High Council for the Azawad, said Tuesday the timing of the talks was no surprise, having been discussed at a June meeting in Burkina Faso that helped pave the way for Mali’s election.

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