Mali Islamist Group Revokes Pledge to End Hostilities
[An Nahar] One of the armed Islamist groups occupying northern Mali, Ansar Dine, said Thursday it was revoking a pledge to end hostilities made last month during peace negotiations in Algeria.
"Ansar Dine (Defenders of the Faith) has decided to revoke the offer to stop hostilities together with the negotiations being conducted in Ouagadougou," said Ansar Dine's leader, Iyad Ag Ghaly, in a statement published by Mauritanian news agency Sahara Medias.
The Ouagadougou talks are being led by Burkina Faso
...The country in west Africa that they put where Upper Volta used to be. Its capital is Oogadooga, or something like that. Its president is currently Blaise Compaoré, who took office in 1987 and may be in the process of being chased out now...
President Blaise Compaore, west Africa's chief mediator for the crisis in Mali, where Islamists seized control of the north in the wake of a March 22 coup.
The Ansar Dine statement lashed out at the Malian government, saying it had given nothing in return for the promise to end hostilities and was instead busy "recruiting mercenaries" to fight in the north of Mali.
The U.N. Security Council on December 20 approved the deployment of an international force in Mali to reclaim the north, but did not give a precise timetable and said the troops should be sent in stages.
The Security Council also insisted on the need for dialogue with gangs in the north that reject terrorism and the partition of the country.
The day after the Council's decision, Ansar Dine and another gang in the north, the ethnic-Tuareg separatist movement MNLA, announced they were ready to put down their weapons and negotiate with the Malian transitional government.
Ansar Dine's leader said Thursday that the pledge to end hostilities had been "torn out" of his delegation during "rough negotiations".
He said he was still open to "new negotiations, even if (Ansar Dine) has never detected a willingness from the other party to reciprocate".
Posted by: Fred