Rebel sign peace accord with Malian government, paving way for polls

Rebels of the Tuareg-led National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) in north Mali have inked a peace deal with the government to hold presidential elections on July 28, 2013 and pave the way for billions of dollars of western aid to rebuild the war-torn West African nation.

What are the key points in the deal?

The agreements envisages for a two-stage process beginning with an immediate ceasefire to allow for the elections, followed by a peace agreement to be negotiated b/w the newly-elected government and the rebels. Prior to the elections, the rebels should withdraw to U.N. monitored garrisons, even as the Malian Army and civil administration, aided by French and U.N. troops, re-enter the town of Kidal. The ceasefire will be enforced by a Joint Technical and Security Commission comprising four representatives each from the Malian defence forces and the rebels, one representative from the U.N. mission, one from the French forces, and a representative each from the regional body Ecowas and the African Union. The two sides have also agreed to set up an international commission of inquiry to examine accusations of war crimes leveled at both.

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