Mali peace talks kick off in Algeria

Malian government, rebels begin tough peace talks in Algerian capital with parts of country still mired in conflict.

The Bamako government and armed groups from northern Mali launched tough talks in Algiers on Wednesday for an elusive peace deal, with parts of the country still mired in conflict.

The closed-door negotiations were to take place in the presence of six rebel groups, but they refused to meet simultaneously, according to an Algerian official.

Instead, the three groups that signed the “Algiers Declaration” in June, demanding inclusive peace negotiations, held a succession of brief meetings with the government delegation, with three other groups then holding talks.

Speaking beforehand, Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop, who heads the government negotiating team, said Bamako was prepared to go “as far as possible” within its “red lines” to strike a peace deal with the mainly Tuareg rebels and “forge an understanding between Malians.”

“The government is ready to go as far as possible within the red lines that have been drawn,” Diop said on Wednesday morning in Algiers.

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