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

    Turkey, US Splits Deepen Over Support for Kurdish Militants

    Ankara summons American ambassador to protest remarks by State Department spokesman who said Washington does not consider Syria's Kurdish Democracy Union Party (PYD) a terrorist organization

    Obama Seeking $19 Billion for National Cybersecurity

    Move, touted as attempt to build broad, cohesive federal response to cyberthreats, calls for increase in cybersecurity spending across all government agencies

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire, who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
    X
    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.