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Last Updated: Friday, 30 June 2006, 17:03 GMT 18:03 UK
Tuareg rebels in Mali peace deal
Mali's government says it has reached an agreement with Tuareg rebels who last month attacked army barracks and attacked passing vehicles.

Under the deal reached in Algeria, the Tuaregs have dropped demands for greater regional autonomy in exchange for poverty reduction, officials say.

The government has promised to do more to develop Mali's northern desert regions, where the Tuaregs live.

The attacks had raised fears of a return to civil war that ended in 1998.

Following the peace deal, many former Tuareg rebels were integrated into the army but some have since deserted.

Malian military officials say these deserters were behind the attacks on the towns of Kidal and Menaka.

An unnamed Malian official told the Reuters news agency that the deserters would be allowed to rejoin the army.

"There is a document, an agreement, in the hands of the Algerian mediators. It has not yet been signed," rebel spokesman Eglasse Ag Idar told Reuters news agency, adding the Tuareg leadership were expected to sign the deal soon.

"It gives specifics on our region, on politics, development, security. It is a good step for the development of our region."

Country profile: Mali
18 May 06 |  Country profiles

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