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Mali's Islamists declare readiness for talks with authorities

November 07, 2012, 2:30 UTC+3

The movement's statement made Tuesday after a meeting with President Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso

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PRETORIA, November 7 (Itar-Tass) — Islamists from the Ansar al-Din movement, which established control over Mali's north, have stated that they are ready to start talks with the authorities so as to prevent an intervention into the republic by the troops of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

The movement's statement made Tuesday after a meeting with President Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso, who is an ECOWAS mediator at talks between the insurgents and and Malian authorities, said the movement confirms the readiness of Ansar al-Din immediately to launch a political dialogue with the interim authorities of Mali.

The Islamists called for full discontinuance of combat actions, for respect for the fundamental rights and freedoms, for repatriation of all displaced persons and refugees, and for the creation of an atmosphere promoting the adoption and implementation of a full-scale peace agreement which may do away with the underlying causes of the crisis.

The Ansar al-Din also urged all armed groups to follow its example for the launch of a "political dialogue" with the authorities of Mali.

The Ansar al-Din rejects all forms of extremism and terrorism and is committed to the fight against transborder crime, said the statement made at a time when the military leaders of ECOWAS armies discussed a plan for an intervention into Mali to restore govrrnment control over the republic's north.

The strength of ECOWAS troops may be increased from 3,200 to 4,000 and may include the servicemen of non-African countries. Possible combat operations are planned to be conducted on land and with the use of aviation.

The intervention plan is yet to be approved by the leaders of ECOWAS member-countries and submitted to the UN Security Council for endorsement on November 26.



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