French President Francois Hollande, who announced the deal after the G8 summit in Northern Ireland, said the deal paved the way for a presidential election across Mali, including kidal. “This agreement is very important for the future Mali. It allows the strengthening of the Malian state,” said Manga Dembele, Communications Minister for Mali, by telephone from the capital Bamako with the Guardian. “This agreement represents a major step forward in the crisis in Mali. In the run-up to the presidential elections on 28 July, it reconciles respect for Mali`s territorial integrity with the recognition of a specific approach to the problems of the North,” Fabius said. In a statement released today, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Mali was “on the brink” when France intervened in its conflict and welcomed the peace agreement. “There has long been deep mistrust between these two entities, and both sides have legitimate complaints and there are serious problems for the security sector in the region,” said Joseph Siegle, research director at the Africa Centre for Strategic Studies. “This agreement has some significance – it indicates that Tuareg leaders accept that they are part of the state of Mali, and that they are opening the door to their participation in these elections.” On 6 April, ECOWAS negotiated a framework agreement that led the military junta to relinquish power in exchange for an amnesty and the lifting of ECOWAS sanctions. The junta also agreed to a timetable for a return to constitutional domination and elections. As part of the 23 May agreement, negotiated by the Secretary-General`s Special Representative for Mali, Albert Gerard Koenders, and Abel Aziz, Mauritanian President and current President of the African Union, the parties agreed to end hostilities in Kidal and re-engage in the Ouagadougou ouanou pre-agreement, Ladsous said.

The attacks on 7 and 8 August at the Byblos Hotel in Sévaré, central Mali, killed 13 people, including four employees of a MINUSMA contractor, and injured several others. Despite the threat of sanctions, the first major violations of the ceasefire occurred in mid-August, when the Tuareg Imghad and Allied Self-Defence Group (GATIA) – a member of the coalition of armed group platforms closely associated with the government – established new positions in advance in areas of the Kidal region under the control of the coalition coordination of armed groups. This led to deadly clashes with Denvg`s forces and GATIA`s takeover of the city of Anefis. At the request of France, the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Mr. Hervé Ladsous, informed the members of the Security Council on 19 August of ceasefire violations and described the sending of a joint observation and verification team to the North and the creation of a safe zone by MINUSMA around Kidal to avoid further ceasefire violations. In elements hidden from the press after the meeting, the members of the Security Council stressed their willingness to impose targeted sanctions on those who violate the ceasefire or threaten the implementation of the peace agreement. On 1 March, the government and a coalition of armed groups closer to the government – the platform – signed a peace agreement in Algiers.