News / Africa

African Leaders Prepare for Military Intervention in Northern Mali

African Union Chief Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma (front L) and Mali's President Dioncounda Traore attend a high level international meeting on the crisis in northern Mali, Bamako, October 19, 2012.
African Union Chief Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma (front L) and Mali's President Dioncounda Traore attend a high level international meeting on the crisis in northern Mali, Bamako, October 19, 2012.
Peter Tinti
High-level delegations from the United Nations, West African bloc ECOWAS, and the African Union met with Malian leaders Friday to develop a coherent strategy for tackling the crisis in northern Mali, where al-Qaida linked militant groups have taken control.

Mali’s interim President Dioncounda Traore urged representatives from ECOWAS, the African Union, European Union, United Nations and other key partners to act immediately in addressing the deteriorating situation in the north.

Traore assured attendees of the total cooperation of the Malian government, and said it would not falter because those present were there as friends, brothers and partners at a time when the pooling of resources is the only response to the security challenges that Mali is facing. 

Traore described the situation as a “race against time” against a “common enemy” and said that these challenges represent a risk for the Sahel, for West Africa, for the Sahara, for Africa and for the world.

The United Nations has been calling on ECOWAS for months to provide a more detailed plan for its proposed military action in northern Mali against the al-Qaida linked militant groups who seized control in April following a March 22nd coup in Mali's capital.

This highly anticipated meeting is seen as a decisive step in developing a coherent strategy for tackling the crisis.

Among those present was former prime minister Romano Prodi of Italy, who U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed as his Special Envoy for the Sahel earlier this month. Their attendance was praised by
Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations Jan Eliasson.

"The presence here today of the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Sahel -- former president of the European Commission and prime minister of Italy Romano Prodi -- is a tangible expression of the commitment of the United Nations to helping resolve the crisis in the Sahel and in Mali," Eliasson said.

The newly-appointed chairperson of the African Union Commission, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, echoed these sentiments.
 
"I have chosen to make this my first trip in my official capacity as the chairperson of the African Union Commission to Mali to convey a message of solidarity from our continent to the people of this great country, said Zuma. "In so doing, I also want to highlight the AU's deep concern about the prevailing situation and the AU's determination to do everything in our power to help the people of Mali to find a speedy resolution to the overlapping crises in their country."

The U.N. refugee agency says at least 450,000 people in northern Mali have fled into neighboring countries or into the government-held south since the start of the year.

Several recent reports have highlighted a litany of human rights abuses committed by militants in the north, including amputations, recruitment of child soldiers and forced prostitution.  Smoking and music are banned, and in many towns women are forced to wear a veil and are forbidden from interacting with men in public.

Once a military intervention plan is finalized and submitted to the U.N., the Security Council will need to hold a second vote to decide whether to approve the operation.  Several experts said that even if the Security Council approves the proposal as is, and does not request further details or revisions, it could be months before ECOWAS troops are on the ground.

Toward the end of his speech Friday, Traore drew applause when he called on the international community to lift the sanctions that were put in place after the coup until elections are held, arguing that they are hurting the economy.

Mali is working to organize credible, transparent elections as soon as possible,he said, but added that Mali’s entire territory should participate in elections, otherwise it would be a recognition of the current status quo and the division of the country.

You May Like

China’s Influence Grows With New Infrastructure Bank

Multibillion-dollar China-backed and BRICS-supported Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank seen as possible challenger to such lenders as IMF, World Bank More

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

Rabbi Michel Serfaty makes the rounds in his friendship bus to encourage dialogue and break down barriers between the two groups More

Post-deal Iran Leaders Need 'Economic Momentum' to Solidify Power Base

Economists say deal could inject more than $100 billion into coffers - not enough to entirely rescue ailing economy - but maybe adequate to create 'economic momentum' More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impacti
X
Michael Bowman
June 28, 2015 10:05 PM
Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Chemical-Sniffing Technology Fights Australia's Graffiti Vandals

Cities and towns all over the world spend huge amounts of resources battling graffiti writers who deface buildings, public transport vehicles and even monuments. Authorities in Sydney, Australia, hope a new chemical-sniffing technology finally will stop vandals from scribbling on walls in the passenger areas of commuter trains. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Cambodia Struggling to Curb Child Labor

Earlier this year a United Nations report found 10 percent of Cambodian children aged 7-14 are working – one of the highest rates in the region – and said one in four children in that age bracket are forced to quit school to help their families. Although the child labor rate has dropped over the past decade, Cambodia has a lot more to do – including keeping more children in school. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.

VOA Blogs