Mali recalls its envoy in Algeria after alleging interference, deepening tensions over peace efforts – Times of India

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BAMAKO: Mali recalled its ambassador in Algeria after accusing it of interference in its internal affairs by meeting rebel leaders, officials said Friday, deepening diplomatic tensions between the two neighbors over efforts to end the armed rebellion in northern Mali.
Mali’s junta said it was withdrawing ambassador Mahamane Amadou Maiga from Algeria “for consultation with immediate effect,” according to a letter from the Malian embassy to the Algerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Algeria has been the main mediator in peace efforts between Mali and the local Tuareg rebels, whose separatist campaign in the north has thrown the country into a violent conflict for over a decade. In 2012, they dislodged the Malian military from the town, setting into motion a series of events that destabilized the country.
Algeria was key to the signing of a 2015 peace deal between Mali and the rebels – a deal that collapsed after both parties accused each other of failing to comply with it.
Earlier in the week, Mali summoned Algeria’s top diplomat “to express strong protest following recent unfriendly acts of the Algerian authorities under the guise of the peace process in Mali,” the government said in reference to the meetings.
“These acts are an interference in Mali’s internal affairs,” the Malian Information and Press Bureau said, urging Algeria “to prioritize dialogue with the Malian Authorities.”
Algeria in response summoned Mali’s top diplomat Thursday and urged the country to “join the efforts currently undertaken by Algeria to give (the agreement) new impetus,” according to a statement by its foreign affairs ministry.
It defended the meetings with the rebel leaders, adding that it “fit perfectly” into Algeria’s efforts to uphold the deal and help achieve peace in Mali.
The dispute between the two countries could further threaten peace efforts in Mali, where new clashes erupted between the military government and the Tuareg rebels in recent months.
Analysts have warned the developments could mean more violence in a region already under threat from fighters linked to al-Qaida and where both French forces and United Nations peacekeepers have withdrawn in recent months.


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