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Mali rebel groups sign truce accord in Algeria

ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — Three northern Malian rebel groups signed an accord in Algiers pledging to work for peace through inclusive talks in Mali.

The National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad, the High Council for the Unity of Azawad and the Arab Movement of Azawad signed the Algiers Declaration pledging their "good faith" to strengthen the process of reconciliation through dialogue, said an Algerian government statement Tuesday.

Since 2012, when Tuareg rebel groups seized control of northern Mali, or Azawad as they call it, the country has been in turmoil. The government only regained control of the whole country in 2013 with the help of French and African troops that intervened after al-Qaida took over the Tuareg rebellion.

The central government is an object of resentment, especially in the far northern town of Kidal and in May remnants of the NMLA routed the Malian government soldiers once more from that area, leading to a tense standoff.

The statement pledged support for a dialogue with the Malian government that "takes into account the legitimate desires of the local population while respecting the territorial integrity and unity of Mali." The dialogue between the central government and the armed groups has yet to begin.

Algeria borders Mali on the north and has its own Tuareg population. It has often become involved in efforts to resolve the differences between the lighter skinned Tuareg and Arab tribes of the north and the predominantly black African government in the south.

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