The minister of religious affairs asked the High Islamic Council (HCI) to open negotiations with the leaders of the al Qaeda-linked Jama'a Nusrat ul-Islam wa al-Muslimin (JNIM), ministry spokesperson Khalil Camara told the Reuters news agency.
Such an approach is vigorously opposed by Mali's chief military ally France, whose president, Emmanuel Macron, said in June that French troops would not conduct joint operations with countries that negotiate with such groups.
Macron announced in June that France would begin drawing down its 5,000-troop mission in the Sahel, leading Mali to accuse France of abandoning it and float the idea of using Russian mercenaries.
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