World Bulletin / News Desk
The Malian government and several rebel groups on Friday signed a peace deal aimed at ending months of fighting in the country's restive north.
The ceremony, held in capital Bamako, was attended by 23 heads of state and the representatives of several rebel groups, an Anadolu Agency correspondent reported.
However, the ceremony was boycotted by the region's main rebel group, the Coordination of Azawad Movements (CMA), raising doubts as to the deal's prospects for success.
The CMA had said earlier that it planned to shun the ceremony after raising objections about the draft agreement when it was first unveiled in Algeria in March.
However, a member of both the CMA and the People's Coalition of Azawad (CPA) signed the deal in the name of both groups – a move later disavowed by the CPA.
CPA chief Ibrahim Ag Mohamed Assaleh confirmed to Anadolu Agency that Mohamed Ousmane Ag Mohamedoun, a leading member of both movements, had signed the deal on behalf of both groups.
He added, however, that Mohamedoun had "no mandate" to sign the agreement.
In a statement, the CPA asserted that its executive board "had not appointed any member… to take part in the signing ceremony in the name of the CPA."
"Any commitments that result from the signing in the aforementioned ceremony have no legitimacy by the CPA," it added.
In March, the CPA called for introducing amendments to the peace deal to make northern Mali's Azawad territory an "autonomous region."
The alliance also called for establishing a regional parliament for Azawad; earmarking 40 percent of Mali's budget for the development of the country's north; and allocating 80 percent of police positions in the area for natives of Azawad.
Mali slipped into violence in 2012 following a failed coup attempt and a Tuareg rebellion that allowed Al-Qaeda-linked forces to take over the northern half of the country.
Last Mod: 16 Mayıs 2015, 10:57