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France calls for truce in latest Mali fighting

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France calls for truce in latest Mali fighting
13:24 CEST+02:00
French officials called on Thursday for an immediate truce in Mali after a deadly spate of violence brought on by the rebel seizure of the desert town of Kidal.

France on Thursday called for an immediate ceasefire and dialogue to end a resurgence of violence in the northern Malian desert town of Kidal seized by rebels.

"It is vital that the hostilities cease and that inclusive talks are launched," said foreign ministry spokesman Romain Nadal, calling upon all "parties to urgently return to the negotiating table".

"It is up to the Malians to carry through this process of dialogue to reach a global and definitive peace accord that respects the territorial integrity of the country," Nadal said.

Tuareg insurgents wrested control of the flashpoint town, a bastion of their separatist movement, on Wednesday.

The fresh fighting shattered an uneasy calm that had held since the MNLA took 32 civil servants hostage during a May 17 battle that left eight Malian soldiers and 28 rebels dead.

Mali is battling to restore stability after Al-Qaeda-linked radicals seized control of its northern half, submitting it to a brutal form of Islamic law for nine months.

A French-led operation launched in January drove them out, but troops are still fighting jihadists hiding out in the vast northern desert.

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