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

Israelis Quietly Expand Enclave in Palestinian District of Jerusalem

Estimated 500 settlers, armed or protected by paramilitary police, live in Silwan among 50,000 Palestinians More

Video US, Iran Face Similar Challenges in Syrian Fight Against IS

Both Washington, Tehran back fighters battling Islamic State militants in Iraq -- but in Syria they support opposing sides in country’s civil war More

China Boosts Efforts to Help Afghan, Regional Stability

Observers say China’s increased regional involvement are due to concerns that Afghan instability and the presence of anti-China militants in Pakistani border areas could fuel Xinjiang troubles 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.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid