Malian government denies plans to negotiate with al-Qaeda’s

The Malian government has denied that it plans to negotiate with leaders of al-Qaeda’s local affiliate, walking back an earlier statement from its religion ministry saying that it would do so.
Reports say, the Government informs the national and international public that to date, no national or international organisation has been officially mandated to carry out such an activity.

The government in the Sahel state said that it had learned of talks of imminent negotiations through the press, directly contradicting an announcement issued by the religious affairs ministry earlier this week.
Spokesperson Khalil Camara told jornalists that it had asked the country’s main Islamic body, the High Islamic Council, to open negotiations with the leaders of the al Qaeda-linked Jama’a Nusrat ul-Islam wa al-Muslimin.

The statement drew comment because it would have marked the first time the government formalised dialogue with such groups, who are waging a brutal armed uprising across much of the north and centre of the vast nation of 19 million people.