TIMBUKTU MARCH 8, 2016 (CISA) – The United Nations Security Council March 6, traveled to northern Mali to push for implementation of a peace deal aimed at ending recurrent internal uprisings and allowing the government to combat the growing threat of Islamist militants.
“With the application of the peace agreement, the people will be able to feel the dividends of peace,” Francois Delattre, France’s ambassador to the UN, said during a trip to the northern towns of Timbuktu and Mopti.
The Security Council members met with local government officials as well as civil society and religious leaders in the towns, reported Reuters.
“You must have the effective presence of the state everywhere in Mali. We know Mali is a vast territory … that’s why you need the implementation of the peace deal,” said Ismael Abraão Gaspar Martins, the UN ambassador from Angola.
Last year Tuareg rebels demanding autonomy for their northern homeland, the government and pro-Bamako militias signed the UN backed accord pledging to end decades of hostilities.
However, the government and the Tuareg rebel alliance – Coordination of Azawad Movements (CMA) – have accused each other of stalling on implementation.
French forces intervened in 2013 to drive back Islamist fighters that hijacked the Tuareg uprising to seize Mali’s desert north a year earlier, citing concern that the area could become a launching pad for attacks on targets in Europe.
A UN peacekeeping mission was then deployed. But the militants have since reorganized and launched a wave of attacks against security forces, peacekeepers and civilian targets that has extended well beyond northern Mali and into neighboring countries.