Tuareg rebels in Mali’s north have expressed a willingness to negotiate with the government or regional bloc ECOWAS after having seized the ancient city of Timbuktu.
The rebel offensive came amid the chaos gripping the West African country following last week’s military coup.
The National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) said they were no longer seeking to expand their area of control, having secured the borders of what the group considers to be a Tuareg homeland.
“Our objective it not to go further than the Azawad borders. We don’t want to create problems for the government of Mali, and even less create problems in the sub-region,” said Hama Ag Mahmoud, of the MNLA’s political wing.
“We don’t want to give anyone the impression that we’re gung-ho for the war, so from the moment we have liberated our territories, our objective is achieved, we stop there.”
He said that while his group had not yet been contacted regarding talks, they were open to them.
“We are open to all attempts … [to] all means of negotiations through ECOWAS [Economic Community of West African States], through another organ or through big powers, we are effectively open, but for now we haven’t received any attempt of negotiation,” he said. Read more…