Mali militants in Burkina Faso for mediation talks

Updated 05 November 2012
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Mali militants in Burkina Faso for mediation talks

OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso: A delegation from a militant group controlling northern Mali is in Burkina Faso for talks with mediator President Blaise Compaore.
Alghabass Ag Intalla, a top official of the radical group Ansare Dine, told The Associated Press yesterday that he is in Ouagadougou as the head of a delegation meeting with Compaore, who has been appointed by the Economic Community of West African States to mediate in the Mali crisis.
Compaore is working to negotiate a resolution to the problems caused by the militants’ separation of northern Mali from the rest of the country.
Ansar Dine’s talks with Compaore come as France heads an international effort planning a military intervention to end the militants’ occupation of northern Mali. Ansar Dine is the most powerful of the groups that have seized control of northern Mali, including city of Timbuktu.
Burkina Faso has been trying to negotiate with the militants in northern Mali for a few months. In August Foreign Affairs Minister Djibrill Bassole travelled to northern Mali cities of Gao and Kidal, which are controlled by militants. In Kidal, the Burkinabe minister met with the leader of Ansar Dine, Iyad Ag Gali. The Burkina Faso envoy urged Ansar Dine to distance itself from other terrorist groups operating in northern Mali.


Japan halts missile drills after Trump-Kim summit

Updated 21 June 2018
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Japan halts missile drills after Trump-Kim summit

TOKYO: Japan has halted evacuation drills simulating a North Korean missile attack in the wake of historic talks between Washington and Pyongyang, local media reported Thursday.
Government officials did not immediately confirm the reports, but authorities in one town said they were suspending a drill planned for next week on orders from Tokyo.
The decision comes after US President Donald Trump and North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un met last week in Singapore, with the pair signing a joint document calling for denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
Yaita in Tochigi prefecture north of Tokyo had been planning an evacuation drill for next week involving some 800 residents including 350 school children, city official Yutaka Yanagida said.
But the city suddenly canceled all preparations late Wednesday after being instructed by the government that “drills should be postponed for the time being following a change in the environment after the US-North Korea summit,” he said.
Contacted by AFP, a Cabinet Office official said the government would announce its policy on evacuation drills on Friday, declining to comment further.
Last year, Pyongyang fired two missiles over Japan and it has splashed others into the sea near the country, sparking a mix of panic and outrage.
Earlier this year, hundreds of Tokyo residents scrambled for cover in the Japanese capital’s first evacuation drill for a military attack by Pyongyang.
North Korea has singled out Japan, a key US ally in the region, for verbal attacks, threatening to “sink” the country into the sea and to turn it into “ashes.”
But the regional mood has turned toward diplomacy since the Winter Olympics hosted by South Korea, which set off a series of diplomatic moves culminating in the Trump-Kim meet.