Mali's interim president has ruled out talks with Islamists who formerly ruled the country's north, but a top official in France, which is helping to retake the region, is calling for reconciliation.

The differences emerged Thursday, two days after French forces took the airport at Kidal, the last major stronghold of the Islamist groups who seized control of northern Mali last year.

In an interview with French radio, Malian interim President Dioncounda Traore said the militants are in his words, "not eligible for dialogue," though he said his government might negotiate with the northern Mali separatist group MNLA.