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A rally for peace amid crisis in Mali

Sunday, April 01, 2012 - 02:10

March 31 - Mali's President of the Islamic Council appeals for peace at gathering in Bamako stadium, as rebels push for more territory in the north. Deborah Lutterbeck reports

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A rally for peace in Mali. Tens of thousands at a stadium in Bamako as the country's Islamic leader calls for peace and understanding caused by a military coup in Mali last week. Muslims and Christians prayed as rebels sought to gain more territory in the north of the country. (SOUNDBITE)(French) IMAM MOHAMED DICKO, PRESIDENT OF MALI'S ISLAMIC COUNCIL, SAYING: "We have asked the military junta, the political class, the civil society and the rebellion in the north to think further than their own interests, to see the suffering of our population, so that we can find a solution to this" Junta leaders held talks with mediators in Burkina Faso. that the military was ready to hand over power but only once a solution was found to what he said were institutional problems. (SOUNDBITE) (French) COLONEL MOUSSA SINKO COULIBALY, HEAD OF THE MILITARY JUNTA'S CABINET, SAYING: "I have said it, I confirm it and I guarantee that if tomorrow morning, we have a solution, the committee will disappear, but, you agree with me that sometimes, it is not possible to achieve miracles. We are giving ourselves the time to reflect, to better read the proposal; but it is not an issue of delay; it is not an issue of power; the committee has no intention of either confiscating power or of staying in power. We shall leave as soon as the institutional crisis is resolved. If that happens in a week, the committee will vanish, if it happens in 24 hours, the committee will vanish. So no worries on that front. We are not here to confiscate power." Mid-ranking officers behind last week's coup had accused the government of giving them inadequate resources to fight rebels. But the coup backfired , emboldening the rebels to take further ground. Junta leaders face a Monday deadline to to hand back power to civilians or face stiff sanctions. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters

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A rally for peace amid crisis in Mali

Sunday, April 01, 2012 - 02:10