African Union President and Mauritania President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz (L) and Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita (R) attend a press conference after a meeting in Bamako on May 22, 2014, concerning the ongoing unrest in Mali. AFP PHOTO /
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The Mali government and the three main rebel groups in the northern desert have signed a cease-fire deal to end days of violence in the Tuareg heartland, the African Union's negotiator announced.Abdel Aziz cut short a visit to Rwanda to hold the urgent ceasefire talks with the Tuareg rebels groups: National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), the High Council for the Unity of Azawad (HCUC) and the Arab Movement of Azawad (MAA).Around 20 Malian soldiers have been killed and 30 wounded since Wednesday as Tuareg and Arab insurgents captured the flashpoint town of Kidal and the smaller settlement of Menaka, according to the defence ministry.It was signed by the two major opposition parties, the Union for the Republic and Democracy (the party of former finance minister Soumaila Cisse) and the Party for National Rebirth (headed by Tiebile Drame, a former foreign minister).
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