News / Africa

ECOWAS to Explore Dual Strategy Against Mali Militants

Map of Mali
Map of Mali
Anne Look
— West African allies continue to explore a dual strategy against the al-Qaida-linked Islamist militants who seized northern Mali in April. ECOWAS - the Economic Community of West African States - is working to open negotiations with local armed groups, while finalizing its request for a U.N. intervention mandate to deploy regional troops to Mali.

The West African regional bloc faces a flurry of activity this week as it continues to prepare for war in northern Mali, all while it looks for a peaceful solution.

On Tuesday, ECOWAS Defense Chiefs of Staff will review a statement prepared by officials from the United Nations, African Union (AU), ECOWAS and neighboring countries, following five days of talks in Bamako.

The strategic concept

ECOWAS special representative to Mali, Aboudou Chaka Toure, said those talks were about finalizing the "strategic concept" for the military intervention and getting everyone on the same page.

He said officials reviewed the operational plans prepared by Mali and ECOWAS, and made adjustments so that everyone is comfortable with the plan. He said international partners drafted a strategic statement on what they agreed to be the objectives for the intervention and what each partner could contribute to the effort.

Toure said that ECOWAS defense chiefs, as well as the ECOWAS Mediation and Security Council, will review and amend that intervention plan before it is presented to African heads of state Sunday at an African Union summit in Abuja.

ECOWAS and the AU have until November 26 to present a detailed plan for the regional intervention to the U.N. Security Council.

ECOWAS also continues to push Malian armed groups to break ties with al-Qaida and foreign jihadists, and come to the negotiating table.

A delegation from the Malian Islamist sect, Ansar Dine, is in Ouagadougou and is expected to meet with Burkinabe President Blaise Compaore, who is leading ECOWAS mediation efforts.

Narrowing down the options

Mali Foreign Affairs Minister Tieman Coulibaly met Saturday with Compaore.

Coulibaly said the international framework to deal with the crisis is being put in place as they weigh the options, either political dialogue, which he said is the preferred option, or military action to rid the region of terrorists.

Ansar Dine is one of four armed groups active in northern Mali. The head of the Ansar Dine delegation, Alghabass Ag Intalla, told a VOA reporter in Ouagadougou the group is "ready to negotiate."

Burkina Faso Foreign Affairs Minister Djibril Bassole told reporters ECOWAS' position has not changed.

Ansar Dine, he said, must distance itself from terrorism and organized crime.  He said Malian armed groups who voluntarily or involuntarily allied themselves with terrorist groups must clearly cut those ties, so that Mali can reunite and elections can be held throughout the country. But he said these negotiations would not in any way present an obstacle to the use of force. Force will be needed, he said, to deal with the terrorist groups who have also taken over this territory.

You May Like

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say 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.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
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.

AppleAndroid