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The United States on Wednesday welcomed a ceasefire deal signed between the government of Mali and Tuareg rebels, paving the way for presidential elections to be held next month.
"The agreement clears the way for the return of Malian administrative and security authorities to Kidal to permit the holding of presidential elections there on July 28," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.
The accord, reached after 10 days of tense negotiations, will allow Malian troops to enter the Tuareg-held northeastern city of Kidal to secure the vote.
"It also sets the stage for a second phase of negotiations and inclusive dialogue with an elected Malian government aimed at fostering national reconciliation and building a sustainable peace," Psaki added.
Washington also applauds the "leadership of ECOWAS, African Union and UN mediators and international partners," Psaki said, vowing that the United States would support efforts to help implement the accord.