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

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy 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 Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid