Ibrahim Ag Mohamed Assaleh, in charge of the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad’s external relations, answers question on October 7, 2012 – Copyright : AFP/File
Ouagadougou (AFP)
Tuareg and Arab rebels are resuming peace talks with the Malian government, notably about the northern territories where they are fighting for autonomy, nine days after they staged a walkout, a spokesmen said Saturday.

The announcement should restart the peace process after a grenade attack, a suicide bombing and renewed fighting shook northern Mali following the rebels’ decision to withdraw from the talks on September 26.

“We declare the lifting of our suspension on our participation in the peace process,” Ibrahim Ag Mohamed Assaleh of the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad told journalists after a meeting in the Burkina Faso capital with President Blaise Compaore, who is mediating the talks.

“The decisions to temporarily suspend our participation allowed us to hold an internal dialogue among our movements and have fruitful clarifying exchanges with the mediator.”

Assaleh said he was also speaking on behalf of the High Council for the Unity of Azawad and the Arab Movement of Azawad.

The rebels’ walkout had dealt a blow to hopes of a durable peace in the troubled west African country, which only elected a new president in August after 18 months of political crisis sparked by a military coup in March last year.

The Malian government has categorically refused to consider self-rule for the country’s vast desert north.

The day after the peace process broke down, two Malian soldiers were wounded by a grenade attack in rebel stronghold Kidal.

A suicide bombing attack followed swiftly in another northern city, Timbuktu, killing two civilians and wounding six soldiers, according to the government. Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb claimed that 16 soldiers were killed in the attack.

Fresh fighting also broke out in Kidal, where insurgents attacked the army.