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The Ethnic Conflict Research Digest

1999, Vol. 2 No. 1 .

A Peace of Timbuktu: Democratic Governance, Development and African Peacemaking
Robin-Edward Poulton & Ibrahim ag Youssouf

(New York and Geneva: UNIDIR/United Nations, 1998)
366pp. ISBN 92-9045-125-4

As the authors note in their acknowledgements A Peace of Timbuktu is an exciting story about an exciting subject: for what could be more important than peace? (pxiii). This book is a fascinating and detailed account of Mali's transition to democracy, which took place in 1991-92 and the peacemaking between the Government of Mali and the rebel movements in the northern part of the country. The report is the result of a collaboration between the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR). The book begins with a chapter detailing the history and natural environment of Mali, essential background to understanding the crisis there. It builds on this to a clear account of the build-up to the crisis and the armed revolt of 1990-97. This leads on to the process of peacemaking, disarmament and the role of the international community. Finally the report looks to the future for Mali and in particular the effect of the Flame of Peace for the United Nations. Truly a most interesting and readable book, essential for all those wishing to understand the situation in Mali.

Gillian Robinson,
INCORE, University of Ulster

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