Mali rebel groups urged to sign peace deal

An official signing ceremony is scheduled to be held in Bamako at the end of March

UNITED NATIONS - The UN Security Council on Wednesday urged Mali's Tuareg rebel groups to sign on to a peace deal that it welcomed as an important step towards lasting peace in Mali.
The Malian government signed the agreement reached in Algiers at the weekend as did some northern armed groups, but the main Tuareg rebel alliance, known as the Coordination, asked for more time.
"We encourage the armed groups of the Coordination to initial the agreement," said French Ambassador Francois Delattre, who chairs the 15-member council this month.
"We welcome this draft peace agreement as an important step towards achieving a comprehensive and inclusive agreement towards lasting peace in Mali," said Delattre, on behalf of the council.
An official signing ceremony is scheduled to be held in Bamako at the end of the month, sealing the deal that provides for greater regional authority for the north in line with long-standing demands.
Islamist militants seized control of northern Mali for more than nine months until a French-led military intervention in 2013 that partly drove them from the region.