PARIS - 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 Defense Minister Gerard Longuet said.
"A unilateral declaration of independence which is not recognize by African states would not have any meaning for us," Longuet told Reuters.
Capitalizing 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 centers 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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