Mali's President Opens Conference on Devolving Power to Ethnic Minorities

Trying to address Tuareg frustrations


Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita said Monday his country would respond to the "frustrations of our Tuareg brothers" as he opened a conference on devolving power to the west African nation's disaffected ethnic minorities.

Around 600 delegates—mainly central and regional government officials—are taking part in the meeting, part of a plan to broker peace with the restive north after it was occupied by Tuareg separatists following a military coup last year.

"We have to give definitive answers to the frustrations of our Tuareg brothers," Keita said, admitting to the "shortcomings and failures" of the country's treatment of its minorities over recent years.