Mali ex-rebels reject national charter on peace deal anniversary


Bamako (AFP)

Mali's former rebel alliance on Tuesday rejected a national reconciliation charter unveiled on the second anniversary of the signing a peace deal with the government, underscoring the country's fraying peace process.

Ex-rebels of the Coordination of Movements of Azawad (CMA) signed a peace deal on June 20, 2015 aimed at curbing separatist uprisings in Mali's north after a 2012 rebellion was hijacked by jihadists, throwing the nation into chaos.

A ceremony to hand the president the national reconciliation charter written by a committee of experts was boycotted by the CMA, which said none of its recommendations made in early April at a peace conference were taken into account.

The absence of its suggestions, it said, "consequently means there is no chance of reaching agreement, and even less for bringing peace and national reconciliation," according to a statement seen by AFP.

The charter and peace conference were supposed to advance a peace process which among other provisions aims to integrate one-time rebel commanders into positions of authority in the north, and operate "mixed patrols" of former rebel groups with the regular army.

Mali's mediator at the peace conference, Baba Hakib Haidara, maintained the document was "guided... by the conclusions of the national reconciliation conference, recognising the deep-rooted causes of the crises that have marked our country since independence," speaking at Tuesday's ceremony.

Mali's jihadists did not sign the peace deal and have continued to wreak havoc despite an ongoing French-led military intervention in 2013 to remove them.

In a sign of their growing confidence, an Al-Qaeda-linked jihadist alliance claimed responsibility Monday for an attack on a tourist resort near Mali's capital that left five people dead.

The head of the political opposition Soumaila Cisse said it had not been involved in the design of the document and could not comment on its contents, and the document has yet to be made public.