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So in May, infighting in Mali reached an impasse and an independent state (mostly unrecognised by outsiders) was claimed - Azawad. Naturally it's more complicated than that, but the point is, it encompasses several cities that I'm very interested in visiting next year, including Timbuktu.

So as it stands, how does one get there now? Would a visa to Mali still be recognised in that area (obvious safety concerns aside)?

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Mali has refused to acknowledge the Azawadi Declaration of Independence and so the visa that you get (as per Mali rules) will entitle you to visit Timbuktu (so you can get the visa from Mali Consulate). However, the real trouble will be getting inside Timbuktu on that visa as it is now a part of Azawadi and the local authority might deny you entry as they no longer associate themselves with Mali. I would suggest it's better to let the situation calm down a bit and then plan a trip later. –  Vivek Oct 4 '12 at 9:38

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Updates now state that the MLNA has given up on the Azawadian independence:

Whatever happened to Azawad?

Wikipedia entry on Azawad

After renewed fighting has pushed much of the MLNA into other battles, as well as the African Union refusing to accept it, it would appear that it's a lost cause, and is viewed on Wikipedia as a 'former' rogue state.

This negates much of the political travel problems, however the problems of entering a war-torn zone still pose much trouble and danger.

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Mali has refused to acknowledge the Azawadi Declaration of Independence and so the visa that you get (as per Mali rules) will entitle you to visit Timbuktu (so you can get the visa from Mali Consulate). However, the real trouble will be getting inside Timbuktu on that visa as it is now a part of Azawadi and the local authority might deny you entry as they no longer associate themselves with Mali.

I would suggest it's better to let the situation calm down a bit and then plan a trip later.

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So you've told me how to get into Mali, but not into Azawad yet, as per the question? :) –  Mark Mayo Oct 4 '12 at 15:43

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