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June 19, 2013
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Burkinabe mediators hosting talks between Mali's government and armed Tuareg rebels said they hoped for an agreement Monday to enable elections to be held nationwide next month.
Malian soldiers launched an assault Wednesday on armed Tuareg separatists accused of ethnic cleansing, killing 10, in a bid to dislodge them from a key northern stronghold ahead of national elections.
Malian troops advanced on the flashpoint city of Kidal Tuesday to retake it from Tuareg separatists accused of "ethnic cleansing" after a wave of expulsions of black residents.
Malians have welcomed news of a July 28 presidential election but serious concerns remain about the possibility of a free and fair vote in Kidal, a key northern city occupied by separatist rebels.
OXFAM’s Humanitarian Campaign Manager, Elise Ford, has said the “Together for a New Mali” conference in Brussels is crucial for raising funds, but stressed the need to set the right tone. According Elise Ford, similar large-scale funding events have suffered from a lack of ownership on the part of the populations targeted, citing Haiti as a dangerous precedent.
Mali’s Interim President, Dioncounda Traoré, has said he is ready to take part in a dialogue with the mainly Touareg National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad, the MNLA. Meanwhile, government troops are advancing on Kidal.
International donors pledged more than $4.22bn on Wednesday to help Mali redeem after a dispute with al-Qaeda-linked fighters. The sum exceeds a goals of Mali that had asked donors for $2.57 for this year and next.
International donors opened a conference on Mali Wednesday aimed at raising some two billion euros ($2.6 billion), pledging to help all sides in the troubled country avoid the mistakes which led to war and political crisis.
There have been continuing reports of clashes between Arab and Tuareg fighters around Ber, 60 kilometres north of Timbuktu, triggering the intervention of Burkinabe and Malian troops.
Security services have broken up an Islamist cell in the Malian capital Bamako. The cell was operated by one of the Islamist groups that have been threatening peace in the north of Mali, a police source said.