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2 Mali groups agree to work together for stability

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AOMAR OUALI | December 21, 2012 03:43 PM EST | AP


ALGIERS, Algeria — Two of Mali's rebel groups have agreed to work together to shore up security in the country's north.

The spokesman for Ansar Dine, an Islamist group that controls Timbuktu, and a representative for the Tuareg MNLA signed an agreement Friday in Algiers, agreeing to work to secure the areas under their control and try to free hostages. Northern Mali is primarily under the control of al-Qaida's North Africa branch.

Still, Algeria's agreement to mediate came a day after the French president visited the former colony. Algeria shares a long border with Mali, and has a Tuareg population which crosses in and out. It has shown reluctance over the plan for a military intervention.

The U.N.'s most powerful body on Thursday authorized an African-led force for Mali.