News / Africa

ECOWAS to Explore Dual Strategy Against Mali Militants

Map of Mali
Map of Mali
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends 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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid