News / Africa

ECOWAS Seeks UN Mandate to Deploy Troops

The president of Burkina Faso, Blaise Compaore, speaks during ECOWAS talks on Mali on July 7, 2012, in Ouagadougou. The president of Burkina Faso, Blaise Compaore, speaks during ECOWAS talks on Mali on July 7, 2012, in Ouagadougou.
x
The president of Burkina Faso, Blaise Compaore, speaks during ECOWAS talks on Mali on July 7, 2012, in Ouagadougou.
The president of Burkina Faso, Blaise Compaore, speaks during ECOWAS talks on Mali on July 7, 2012, in Ouagadougou.
TEXT SIZE - +
Peter Clottey
The Economic Community of West African States is seeking a U.N. Security Council mandate as regional defense chiefs gather to finalize plans to send peacekeeping troops to Mali, where Islamist militants control the north.

The defense chiefs meetings Friday and Saturday are to be held in Ivory Coast’s commercial capital, Abidjan.

"We have always sought U.N. mandate for two basic reasons,” said ECOWAS communications director, Sonny Ugoh. “One, the fact that the environment that we have in the north of Mali requires that mandate. Two, we believe that through that mandate, we should be able to get the international support that will manifest in the area particularly of logistics to support the force, and in order to make it much more robust, and much more effective in dealing with the challenge we have in the north of Mali.”
                  
Some Malians have expressed concern about initial reports of confusion over whether the government had invited ECOWAS to deploy its standby force.

But Ugoh said Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara, who heads the regional bloc, has received an official invitation letter from Mali’s interim President Dioncounda Traoré.

ECOWAS protocol stipulates that a standby force can be deployed after a formal request is made by a member state of the bloc.

Ugoh said the defense chiefs’ meeting forms part of ECOWAS’s effort to end the rebellion in northern Mali.

"The chief of defense staff of member states will finalize the roadmap for a deployment, so that we will be in a position to be ready to deploy as soon as we get the required UN mandate,” Ugoh said.

ECOWAS has said it is ready to deploy a force of about 3,000 troops to northern Mali, where Islamist rebels are trying to impose a harsh form of Sharia, or Islamic law.

The rebels seized control of the area in April after renegade soldiers overthrew the elected government in Bamako.

“The whole idea of this finalization of the roadmap is for the region to be in a position to be able to deploy as expeditiously as possible [and] as soon as this mandate from the U.N. Security Council is [obtained],” said Ugoh.

He admits that both Mali and ECOWAS lost valuable time in resolving the security crisis in the West African country.  Islamist groups reportedly linked to al-Qaida now control about two-thirds of Mali's national territory.

The Islamists, along with Tuareg separatists, seized control of the north in April after the coup in Bamako.  Since then, the militant groups Ansar Dine and MUJAO have pushed out the separatists and moved to enforce a strict version of Islamic law.

“This situation has lingered on for so long and we want to resolve it as quickly as possible. But, we have to make sure that all the prior processes are resolved,” said Ugoh. “And from our point of view, the last requirement is to have the U.N. mandate so that we can deploy under the U.N. umbrella.”

ECOWAS says the first phase of the deployment would provide security for officials and institutions of Mali's transitional government.  It says the second phase calls for ECOWAS to train Mali's army and support its effort to recapture the north.

Clottey interview with Sonny Ugoh, ECOWAS official
Clottey interview with Sonny Ugoh, ECOWAS official i
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

You May Like

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Daya
September 13, 2012 11:59 PM
Which ECOWAS countries are are to deploy troops in Mali
Hope they have done alot of forward planning also for Zimbabwe when the day comes mmmmmm along with the UN mmmmmmm
and other Countries, you know who I mean?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid