Saturday, February 09, 2013

United Nations Considers Sending Troops to Mali

UN mulls sending troops to Mali

Thursday, 07 February 2013 23:11

UNITED NATIONS — The UN is considering sending peacekeepers to Mali, following a proposal from Paris which said that French forces have killed hundreds of Islamist rebels but are still coming under attack.

After announcing plans to start withdrawing its 4 000 troops from Mali in March, France called for a peacekeeping force to take the baton, the French ambassador to the UN said after closed Security Council talks on the crisis.

Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said a peacekeeping force could be in place by April, incorporating troops being deployed under the banner of a West African intervention force, AFISMA, into a UN mission.

“Once security is assured, we can certainly envisage, without changing the structures, that this takes place in the framework of a peacekeeping operation,” Fabius told journalists in Paris.

“This gives the advantage of being under the umbrella of the United Nations, under its financing,” he said.

France’s ambassador to the UN, Gerard Araud, said it would take “several weeks” to make an assessment on sending peacekeepers. UN peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous acknowledged objections raised by the Bamako transitional government but said such a force is supported by the AU, the Community of West African States and key UN members.

“I think there is clearly a shared desire of the international community to do what needs to be done,” Ladsous told a press conference in New York.

— AFP.

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