News / Africa

Facing Constraints, US Urges Political Progress in Mali

Gabe Joselow
— A U.S. representative at the African Union summit says a political solution is needed in Mali alongside military operations to bring stability to the country that was seized by a militant uprising in the north. While the U.S. says it will support the African force in Mali, Washington cannot fully engage with the country until a new government is elected.

The United States has given its backing to the African-led military mission to confront al-Qaida-linked militants who have seized territory in northern Mali following a coup in March. The United States is providing logistical support and equipment to countries involved in operations against the militants, but the State Department says the political crisis in the country must also be addressed.

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Don Yamamoto said in an interview with VOA on Saturday that, legally, the United States has its hands tied until a new government is put in place.

“As you know, the United States, we cannot provide any assistance to the Malian forces, or really Mali in general, until the restrictions are lifted, that is, a government is elected and we can lift the sanctions,” Yamamoto said.

But a political solution seems far off, as militants have seized huge swathes of territory and displaced hundreds of thousands of people in the north.

Yamamoto says holding elections is the first priority and one of the biggest challenges. “Well, first of all is going for elections and of course you can't have elections without involvement of the north and so the question comes in is how are you going to bring the north into this process?" he asked. "And those are issues of discussions.”

The United States is also sending a delegation to an AU donor's conference for Mali being held next week in the Ethiopian capital after the summit.

Yamamoto downplayed expectations for a large contribution, due to political wrangling over the budget on Capitol Hill.

“Whatever number we do give, again, it's going to be dependent on the upcoming budget debates in Washington, but remember we are looking at all ways we can support this operation,”  noted Yamaoto.

The U.S. is under scrutiny for its response to the crisis in Mali, as one of the most supportive backers of the African Union mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

But Jakkie Cilliers, the Executive Director of the Institute for Security Studies, says the spread of Islamist militancy in northern Africa and Somali to another extent, is partially the result of past U.S. counter-terrorism policies.

“It's a little bit of a blowback on the war on terror, and I think that the U.S. recognizes that Africa could become the next frontier in the global war on terror," Cilliers noted. "And the issue needs to be dealt with and dealt with quickly, so it's in the U.S. interest.”

The Obama administration has also supported the French military intervention in Mali, though there are reports of tension between the two sides on the degree of U.S. involvement, with France asking for more logistical support.

French warplanes have been attacking rebel positions in support of Malian troops and France is deploying some 3,000 soldiers.

The African-led military force initially called for 3,300 troops from African countries. But a growing number of countries have pledged soldiers to the mission, prompting the AU Peace and Security Council to ask for an increase in the mandate and immediate financial assistance from the United Nations.

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Pasquinel from: Canada
January 27, 2013 3:23 PM
What? No one for Obama to overthrow? Look how peaceful Libia and Egypt are now.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid