In Context: Mali’s Tuareg Rebels Back Off Peace Deal

In Context: Mali’s Tuareg Rebels Back Off Peace Deal

A group of Tuareg rebels in northern Mali, whose rebellion against the central government sparked a coup and eventually a French intervention, announced yesterday that they were backing out of a June 2013 peace agreement with the Malian government.

The move is a step backward for the efforts to stitch Mali back together again. But as Kamissa Camara wrote in WPR earlier this month, the agreement put on hold yesterday was problematic to begin with:

Mali’s central government has signed a series of peace agreements with Tuareg rebels over the years, but they have only served short-term purposes. The latest arrangement is no different: The June 2013 peace agreement, which provided conditions for the Malian army and government’s return to Kidal and the holding of presidential elections in the region the following month, does not address Kidal’s situation after a president is elected. It stipulates nonetheless that an inclusive dialogue will take place within 60 days of the newly elected government taking office. This dialogue will focus on all issues relating to northern Mali, including justice, development and administrative and territorial organization. Despite the MNLA’s unrealistic expectations about the future of Azawad, claims of secession—the bête noire of the Malian government—will need to be discussed even if only at the surface level, in order to restore trust and transparency between the different factions involved.

As yesterday's announcement shows, that trust still seems far out of reach.

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