In Mali, troops have arrived at the outskirts of Kidal, one of the final rebel strongholds in the West African country.
France says its two weeks of air strikes have left the rebels, a coalition of militant groups, in disarray.
Kidal is under the control of the Islamist group MIA, linked to Ansar Dine, and the secularist MNLA.
In a sign of the turning tide, both groups have requested talks with the Malian government.
The interim President Dioncounda Traore said he is open to talks with the MNLA, but will not meet any Islamist groups.
“The only group that we could think of negotiating with with some results is certainly the MNLA. But of course on the condition that the MNLA drops any pretence to a territorial claim, that it accepts the integration of Mali once and for all,” Traore said.
“Regarding the Islamist Ansar Dine, I think that the only solution for them is to solemnly declare that they renounce Sharia law,” the interim President added.
The French-led military intervention in Mali has recaptured much of the country.
On the streets of Timbuktu, residents have been rejoicing after the historic city was liberated earlier this week.
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