Mali: President Keita finally meets opposition leader Mahmoud Dicko


Mali’s president, Keita has finally met the leader of a protest movement that has brought many thousands on to the streets, Africa-News reports through the presidency on Sunday.
A video posted on the presidency’s Twitter account showed the meeting between President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and Mahmoud Dicko, an imam and leading figure of the so-called June 5 movement, in the capital Bamako on Saturday.
The protests have channelled deep-seated frustration over attacks by armed groups and interethnic violence that have claimed thousands of lives and forced hundreds of thousands to flee their homes since 2012.
Dicho said said in his speech that he already held talks about everything that concerns the recent crisis and the country in general. He added that he thinks that with the will of everyone and of all the parties concerned, solutions will be proferred.
“My role as an imam, as I have said, obliges me to be someone who always considers peace as being essential: peace in our country, the sub-region and in the world.” He added.
Keita, who has been in power since 2013, also met representatives of other political parties with the aim of “easing the political situation”, the presidency said.
The 75-year-old president has taken a conciliatory stance since the demonstrations began, mooting a national unity government in a June 14 address to the nation. Protest leaders rejected that offer.
One of the poorest countries in the world, Mali has been engulfed in conflict since 2012 when an uprising by Tuareg separatists erupted and was quickly overtaken by armed groups.
Despite the presence of thousands of United Nations and French troops, the conflict has spread to central Mali, neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger, stirring feuds between ethnic groups and triggering fears for states farther south which has led to thousands of soldiers and civilians killed, hundreds of thousands of people have fled their homes. Africa-News reports.


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