April 6, 2012 / 8:35 AM / 8 years ago

France dismisses Tuareg independence move in Mali

PARIS (Reuters) - France on Friday dismissed a declaration of independence by Tuareg-led rebels who have set up their own state in a swathe of territory in northern Mali, French Defence Minister Gerard Longuet said.

“A unilateral declaration of independence which is not recognised by African states would not have any meaning for us,” Longuet told Reuters.

Capitalising on chaos in the southern capital Bamako after a March 22 coup, nomadic rebels have taken control of a largely desert zone that covers the northern part of Mali, including historic population centres such as the ancient trading post of Timbuktu. They have been aided by Islamists who have loose ties to local al Qaeda agents.

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