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UN to Consider Mali Request for International Force

  • VOA News

Malian women and men run during a training session at the FLN movement (North Liberation Forces) camp in Sevare, Mali, September 24, 2012.

Malian women and men run during a training session at the FLN movement (North Liberation Forces) camp in Sevare, Mali, September 24, 2012.

The United Nations is expected to consider Mali's request for an international force this week, as the country seeks to recapture the north from Islamist militants.

The U.N. may take up the matter as early as Wednesday during a high-level meeting in New York on the security situation in Africa's Sahel region.

Speaking on the sidelines of the General Assembly on Monday, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Mali requested the force in a September 18 letter to the U.N. chief.

Earlier this week, the Malian government and the regional bloc ECOWAS agreed on the deployment of West African troops under a U.N. mandate. The deal clears the way for the U.N. to approve the request.

“What we still have outstanding has to do with the UN Security Council mandate, which we are hoping to get soon,” said ECOWAS spokesman Sonny Ugoh.

The U.N. has expressed "grave concern" about the entrenchment of al-Qaida-allied militants and the worsening security situation in northern Mali.

ECOWAS has said it has 3,000 regional troops on standby for possible deployment into Mali. Militants and separatists took control of the region shortly after a military coup in March.
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