Mali urged to defuse tensions before holding local polls

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A Beninese peacekeeper of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) patrols the grounds of the El Farouk Hotel in Bamako. UN File Photo/Marco Dormino

Authorities in Mali are being urged by the UN to defuse tensions that may arise before and after the holding of local elections on 20 November.

The polls have been rescheduled three times.

A UN-brokered peace deal was signed in June 2015 between the government and Tuareg-led rebels to end years of fighting in the north of the country.

Jocelyne Sambira reports.

Mali has announced a decision to hold municipal polls on Sunday although the opposition and certain armed groups who signed the year-old peace agreement have expressed reservations on the calendar.

The security situation in the north and certain parts of the centre of the country, may compromise the organization of the elections, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned.

Fighting between government forces and Tuareg rebels and the seizure of its northern territory by radical extremists has destabilized the West African country.

Mr Ban urged the government to pursue a “constructive dialogue” with all stakeholders before and after the vote in order to not compromise the advances made in the peace deal.

The UN Mission in the country, MINUSMA, has agreed to help with logistics and security during the conduct of the polls “within its resources and in its areas of deployment”.

MINUSMA was established in 2013, following a failed coup d’état in Mali in 2012.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 1’02”

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