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Mali's president names negotiator for Tuareg talks

24 April 2014, 09:34

Bamako - Mali's president has chosen a former prime minister to negotiate with separatist rebels.

President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita named Modibo Keita in a statement.

Tuareg rebels, who want an independent homeland in Mali's north, greeted the announcement coolly, saying they were waiting for concrete actions.

They launched a rebellion in 2012 and took control of much of the region. But al-Qaeda-linked extremists later moved in, and a French-led intervention last year wrested back control of the area.

There were hopes that a newly elected government would negotiate a political solution, but talks between the government and the separatists have stalled. The opposition says the impasse is contributing to insecurity in the north.

Last week a UN soldier was hurt when a mine exploded at an airstrip in the country's north.

- AP


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