France on Wednesday called for peace talks between the Malian government and “legitimate representatives” of the al Qaeda–linked militants who had overrun large parts of the country before the French-led invasion. Earlier Wednesday, French troops seized control of Kidal, the last major holdout of the rebels. The militants had taken advantage of ethnic tensions between the northern and southern portions of Mali, leading a spokesman for the French foreign minister to insist that “only a north-south dialogue” will bring peace. But Mali’s secular president, Dioncounda Traore, has insisted that he will speak only with secular groups in the north—and has refused to have a dialogue with anyone from the radical Islamists who seized control of the north last year.
NEXT STEP Legionnaries in Timbuktu on Wednesday. (Eric Feferberg/AFP/Getty)