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Algeria ‘concerned’ after Mali scraps peace deal with separatists

Algeria on Friday expressed “many regrets and deep concern” after neighbouring Mali’s military rulers scrapped a 2015 peace deal with separatist groups that it had mediated. Jihadist and separatist revolts have rocked Mali since 2012 and Algeria was the main mediator in the peace agreement signed by the government and mainly Tuareg armed groups in Algiers. But the Sahel state’s military rulers on Thursday ended the deal, seen by analysts as vital for stabilising Mali, following months of clashes after Mali’s military rulers order the departure UN peacekeepers. “Algeria has taken note, with many regrets and deep concern, of the Malian authorities ending the agreement for peace and reconciliation in Mali,” the Algerian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. Algeria also stressed the decision’s “particular seriousness for Mali itself, for the entire region that aspires to peace and security, and for the all the international community”. The Malian junta blamed the “change in posture of certain signatory groups” and “acts of hostility” by Algeria, with which relations have soured. Mali has accused its neighbour of hosting representative offices for some of the deal’s signatories, which it said had since become “terrorist actors”. Government spokesman Colonel Abdoulaye Maiga on Thursday denounced “a misperception by the Algerian authorities, which consider Mali their backyard or a doormat, against a background of contempt and condescension”. In December, Mali summoned the Algerian ambassador over what it called “interference” and “unfriendly acts”, accusing the diplomat of holding meetings with Tuareg separatists without involving Bamako. Algeria denied the Malian accusations on Friday, saying the junta’s justifications for scrapping the deal were false. “The brother people of Mali must know that such unfortunate and unwelcome decisions have in the past proved that the military option is the biggest threat to Mali’s unity and territorial integrity,” the foreign ministry said. The Algiers agreement had called for the integration of ex-rebels into the Malian defence forces and greater autonomy for the country’s regions. The separatist rebels, grouped under the Coordination of Azawad Movements, had already accused the military junta in July 2022 of having abandoned the pact. As well as the separatists, Mali’s military rulers are battling jihadist rebels affiliated with Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group. The crisis, which spilled over into neighbouring Niger and Burkina Faso in 2015, has unleashed violence estimated to have killed thousands and displaced millions across the region.

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