October, 05 2012 12:14:24

France to propose Mali resolution at UN

UNITED NATIONS – France will soon propose a resolution to the Security Council paving the way for United Nations approval of military intervention in Mali, the French ambassador said on Thursday.

The text will combine "a military and political response" to the crisis in the west African country and appeal for dialogue between Bamako and Islamists controlling the north of the country, said French envoy Gerard Araud.

"It will also authorise people to send trainers to Bamako because we have to rebuild the Malian army," he added.

In March, military putschists seized power in the capital Bamako, ousting President Amadou Toumani Toure, only to see the north and east fall to Tuareg rebels and Islamist militias linked to al-Qaeda.

The resolution, to be circulated "in the coming days," will also encourage regional bloc ECOWAS and Bamako to provide a "concept of operation" requested by the council for a pan-African military operation, according to Araud.

Araud expressed hope that after an October 19 meeting in Bamako with COWAS and the African Union "it will be possible in a second stage to authorise the deployment of a force" through the adoption of a second Security Council resolution.

Bamako has formally requested a UN mandate for an international military force with a deployment in Mali of west African troops.

France is taking the lead on the issue and last week French President Francois Hollande presented it as an urgent matter in his speech to the UN General Assembly.

Also last week, Mali, France and west African nations led calls for the creation of an African-led force to help Mali flush out rebels from its northern territory, seized in a March coup.

Both Araud and his British counterpart Mark Lyall Grant on Thursday spoke of unity in the council on the topic.

However, diplomats are not hiding the fact that adoption of a resolution granting a UN mandate will take time.

"It requires a lot more discussions among the members of the Security Council before we enter into discussions with ECOWAS on what we are talking about," Gert Rosenthal, Guatemala's ambassador, said on Tuesday. -- AFP

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