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

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead 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.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid