Gunmen have freed four election workers a day after they were kidnapped in Mali.
The Malian army captain who led a coup in 2012 has apologised to the nation for his actions.
The deal could pave the way for Malian government troops to return to the rebel-held town of Kidal.
France's goal is to start winding down its military intervention in Mali by April.
Chadian soldiers in Mali have killed the man who masterminded a bloody hostage-taking in Algeria.
Friday saw the heaviest casualties sustained by foreign troops since the start of a military campaign.