Mali did not ask any group to negotiate with Islamist militants

Malian Prime Minister Choguel Maiga addresses the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the United Nations headquarters in New York, USA, September 25, 2021. Kena Betancur / Pool via REUTERS / File Photo

BAMAKO, October 21 (Reuters) – The Malian government said Thursday that it had not formally asked any organization to negotiate on its behalf with Islamist insurgents.

This week, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Religious Affairs said he had asked the High Islamic Council (HCI) to open peace talks with leaders of the local al-Qaeda affiliate with the aim of putting end of a decade of conflict. Read more

“The government informs the national and international public that to date, no national or international organization has been officially mandated to carry out such activity,” the government said in a statement.

Malian authorities have endorsed the idea of ​​talks and quietly supported local peace initiatives with militants as security deteriorates and Islamist groups expand beyond their traditional strongholds.

But the strategy is opposed by Mali’s main military ally, France. French President Emmanuel Macron said in June that his troops would not conduct joint operations with countries negotiating with Islamist militants.

Reporting by Tiemoko Diallo Writing by Alessandra Prentice. Editing by Gerry Doyle

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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