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Mali opposition: Tuareg impasse makes north unsafe

BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — An opposition party says an impasse in negotiations between Mali's government and separatist rebels is creating insecurity in the country's north.

Tuareg rebels, who want an independent homeland in Mali's north, launched a rebellion in 2012 and took control of much of the area. But al-Qaida-linked extremists later moved in, and a French-led intervention ousted armed groups last year.

There were hopes that a newly elected government would negotiate a political solution. But President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita has not named an official negotiator, and the talks have yet to start in earnest.

On Thursday, the opposition Party for National Renaissance published a scathing assessment of the situation. The report said the impasse allowed armed groups to operate again in the north, citing recent killings, kidnappings, mine explosions and rocket fire.

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