Mali’s embattled interim government has ramped up diplomatic efforts to save the north from rebel fighters who have destroyed World Heritage shrines in Timbuktu and have reportedly rigged another city with mines.
The interim government in the capital Bamako, set up after the March 22 coup which led to a takeover in the north as armed groups exploited the resulting chaos, has been scrambling for assistance to regain its territory.
"We will do everything to recover our territory," Sadio Lamine Sow, Mali’s foreign minister, told the AFP news agency, speaking at the end of a two-day visit to Algeria, where he held talks with authorities in Algiers.
The post-coup transition government has struggled to assert its authority in the face of armed al-Qaeda-allied groups occupying the north, and Mali’s neighbours in west Africa have proposed a stronger unity government be formed
West African leaders will meet in Burkina Faso’s capital on Saturday to discuss this option with senior Malian political figures, as the Islamist rebels escalate efforts to exert their control in the country’s north.