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Morocco to set up phosphate mine in Mali

Morocco is to finance the construction of a production unit in Mali for phosphate destined exclusively for the African market, an official told AFP on the sidelines of a state visit of King Mohammed VI to the west African nation. "Africa has more than 80 percent of the world's reserves of phosphate and exports the raw material to other regions, notably for the production of fertilisers," Mostafa Terrab, chief executive of Morocco's state-owned phosphate company OCP, said late on Wednesday.

France, Germany to send parts of joint brigade to Mali

France and Germany will send parts of a joint military brigade to Mali, a joint statement said Wednesday. "France and Germany have decided to send elements of the Franco-German Brigade to Mali: the first deployment under the aegis of the EU and in an African location," a statement said after a security and defence meeting in Paris between the two countries. ach/mm/mfp

Algeria to hold talks with Mali rebels over peace deal

By Hamid Ould Ahmed ALGIERS (Reuters) - Algeria will hold exploratory talks with rebel groups from neighboring Mali in an attempt to revive peace negotiations there, it said on Sunday, an initiative welcomed by Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. Mali exploded into violence when Tuareg separatist fighters tried to take over the north and Islamist militants eventually occupied the region, triggering a French military intervention last year.

US drone crashed in Mali in April

A US military Reaper drone crashed in Mali in April as it was carrying out a surveillance flight over the troubled west African nation, a US defense official said Friday. The robotic, unmanned aircraft went down due to "mechanical failure," the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP. Since February, the United States has stationed two drones at an air base in Niamey to provide intelligence for French forces in Mali.

Mali lifts state of emergency in place since January

Mali lifted a nearly six-month state of emergency on Saturday, the eve of the start of a presidential campaign for a July 28 election in the troubled west African nation, the security ministry said. The removal of the state of emergency marks a gradual return to normality in Mali, a once stable democracy emerging from some 18 months of political crisis and conflict.

Mali lifts state of emergency in place since January

Mali lifted a nearly six-month state of emergency on Saturday, the eve of the start of a presidential election campaign for July 28 polls in the troubled west African nation, the security ministry said. The removal of the state of emergency marks a gradual return to normality in Mali, a once stable democracy emerging from some 18 months of political crisis and conflict.

UN aims for Mali peacekeepers by July 1

An 11,000-strong UN peacekeeping force could take over military duties from France in Mali on July 1 if "major combat operations" have ended, according to a draft resolution obtained Monday. The Security Council could vote later this month on the resolution, which says there must first be a "cessation of major combat operations by international military forces" and "a significant reduction in the capacity of terrorist forces to pose a major threat," according to a copy obtained by AFP.

Fighting erupts after car bombing in Mali

Malian soldiers backed by French fighter jets battled Islamist rebels in Timbuktu on Sunday after insurgents used a car bomb as cover to infiltrate the northern desert town, sources said.The French-led offensive in Mali has pushed a mix of Islamists out of their northern strongholds and remote mountain bases but the militants have hit back with several suicide attacks and guerilla-style raids.At least one Malian soldier was killed and four injured in Sunday's fighting in the ancient Saharan trading hub 1,000 km (600 miles) north of the capital Bamako, according to a Mali gove

Ban says 11,200 peacekeepers needed for Mali

UN leader Ban Ki-Moon said Tuesday that up to 11,200 troops could be needed for a peacekeeping mission in Mali but that a "parallel" military force would have to battle radical Islamists. Ban said in a report to the UN Security Council that the 11,200 troops would only be enough to cover main towns "assessed to be at highest risk." The UN leader added that there would be a "fundamental requirement for a parallel force" in Mali and possibly neighboring countries -- in a clear signal that France will have to maintain a strong military involvement in the conflict.

U.N. condemns Mali rights abuses, to step up monitoring

GENEVA (Reuters) - The United Nations condemned human rights crimes committed in northern Mali by "rebels, terrorist groups and other organised transnational crime networks" and agreed to appoint an independent monitor for the West African country. The 47-member U.N. Human Rights Council adopted a resolution brought by Gabon on behalf of African states without a vote on Thursday that also called for free and transparent elections in Mali, which is fighting an Islamist insurgency in the north.
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