The Malian rebel alliance, the Coordination of Movements of Azawad, signs peace deal with government. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: An alliance of Tuareg-led rebels and the Malian government signed a peace deal on Saturday meant to draw a line under a 2012 uprising and allow the authorities to focus on tackling an Islamist militant threat in the country's desert north. The Algerian-brokered deal, signed by a representative of the rebel Coordination of Movements of Azawad (CMA), hands greater autonomy to Mali's sparsely populated north in a bid to end a cycle of four uprisings since independence from France in 1960. The Algiers Accord was already signed in mid-May by the government and a coalition of loyalist armed groups, but the CMA had held out for further concessions on the return of refugees, security arrangements and development plans for their region. These were agreed with the government in early June. Implementing the peace deal will be complicated by the division of fighters into various competing factions and splinter groups. Analysts say that rival northern factions are also vying for control of lucrative smuggling routes to north Africa. Previous deals with northern rebels have failed to secure a lasting peace. The light-skinned Tuareg and Arab peoples of northern Mali say they have been marginalised and excluded by successive black African governments in the southern capital Bamako. The accord proposed devolved powers for the north, a regional security force and a special development plan, but left the issue of Azawad's political identity for a national debate between Malian parties. Mali's government rejected any notion of full autonomy for Azawad in a federal system, but said it would devolve more authority under Mali's existing decentralised structure. Rebels had pushed for a federalist system.