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

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter 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.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid