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UN Security Council urges Malian parties to end fighting

UNITED NATIONS, May 1 (Xinhua) -- The UN Security Council on Friday urged parties in Mali to end fighting immediately and demonstrate their commitment to the peace process recently marred by renewed tensions in the country's north.

In a press statement released here, the 15-member body expressed deep concern over the recent outbreak of violence in northern Mali and said it is ready to "consider targeted sanctions against those who resume hostilities and violate the ceasefire."

Hostilities resumed in northern Mali between Tuareg rebels and pro-government militias since Monday, notably in the villages of Menaka, Goundam and Lere. Two soldiers and one child were killed on Wednesday when the main rebel group in northern Mali, the Tuareg-led Coordination of Azawad Movements (CMA), attacked Malian National Guard in the northern village of Goundam.

"In this regard, the members of the Security Council expressed their intention to evaluate next steps in light of these violations and events on the ground," said the statement.

The council also encouraged the parties to continue to engage constructively with sustained political will and in good faith with the view to signing the draft Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation in Mali on May 15, 2015 in Bamako, the statement said.

The peace deal, brokered by Algeria under UN auspices, has been agreed by the Malian government and some rebel groups. But Mali's main rebel alliance, the Coordination of Azawad Movements, is refusing to sign the agreement on the grounds that its demands for autonomy for northern Mali were not addressed in the document.

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