Mali separatists pledge to speak with single voice

Malian separatist militias agreed on Sunday to speak with a “single voice” in talks with Bamako on ending conflicts that still rage a year after Mali returned to democracy.

The APS news agency in Algeria, which is hosting a second round of talks between separatist groups and Malian government representatives, announced the move.

“Now it’s one voice who will speak on behalf of the people of Azawad (northern Mali),” APS reported Ibrahim Ag Mohamed Salah, president of the Coalition of the People for Azawad (CPA), as saying.

He said the CPA, the Tuareg National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) and the Arab Movement of Azawad (MAA) had signed a Memorandum of Understanding.

In it, they pledged to work together for the “legitimate” aspirations of the people of Azawad, he said after meeting Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra.

MAA general secretary Ahmed Ould Sidi Mohamed said that this step “will be followed by others until the outcome of a just and comprehensive solution” in Mali.

A second round of negotiations between Bamako and the armed groups began on 1 September.

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