Mali rebels sign initial peace deal, doubts remain

Reuters News
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Posted: May 14, 2015 6:53 AM

ALGIERS (Reuters) - Mali's Tuareg-led rebels signed up to a preliminary peace agreement with the government on Thursday as a step to ending decades of separatist fighting, but said they would need more guarantees before signing a final accord.

Attempts to conclude the U.N. and Algerian-backed peace deal have stalled with fighting continuing on the ground and the Tuareg-led coalition saying the proposal fell short of their demands for the northern region they call Azawad.

Mali's government signed the deal in March, but rebel groups said they needed more time. Western powers want a conclusive accord, fearing turmoil will allow Islamist militants to return to the north after French military intervention drove them out.

(Reporting by Patrick Markey; Editing by Toby Chopra)