Bamako - Mali's president has chosen a former prime minister
to negotiate with separatist rebels.
President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita named Modibo Keita in a
Tuareg rebels, who want an independent homeland in Mali's
north, greeted the announcement coolly, saying they were waiting for concrete
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.