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Tunisia says war in Mali could worsen tensions in region

Nov. 14, 2012 11:51 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 14, 2012 11:51 P.M.)
TUNIS (Reuters) -- A military offensive in northern Mali against Islamist militants could create "a hotbed of tension" in the region, Tunisia warned Wednesday, saying that such an outcome would threaten its national security.

Military experts from Africa, the United Nations and Europe have drafted plans to recapture northern Mali, which fell to rebels in March after a coup in the capital Bamako created a power vacuum.

"Tunisia considers that the launching of any war in the region must be preceded by exhausting all peaceful options to resolve the crisis in Mali", the Tunisian presidency said in a statement.

"Tunisia warns that any military intervention not well thought out could turn the region into a hotbed of tension on the borders of the Maghreb countries and may have negative repercussions on its national security."

Tunisia stressed the need to support transitional authorities in Bamako in their efforts to regain northern Mali, controlled by several armed groups

North African countries fear that a war on Islamist fighters in Mali may provoke violent reactions from al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and other militants in the region.
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