News / Africa

Mali, ECOWAS, Not on Same Page on Military Intervention

President of ECOWAS) Desire Kadre Ouedraogo (R), greets Malian Foreign Minister Tieman Coulibaly on Sept. 17, 2012 in AbidjanPresident of ECOWAS) Desire Kadre Ouedraogo (R), greets Malian Foreign Minister Tieman Coulibaly on Sept. 17, 2012 in Abidjan
x
President of ECOWAS) Desire Kadre Ouedraogo (R), greets Malian Foreign Minister Tieman Coulibaly on Sept. 17, 2012 in Abidjan
President of ECOWAS) Desire Kadre Ouedraogo (R), greets Malian Foreign Minister Tieman Coulibaly on Sept. 17, 2012 in Abidjan
Anne Look
West African regional bloc ECOWAS says it is gearing for an eventual military intervention mission to Mali.  But ECOWAS and Mali appear to have divergent views on what that mission will entail.

The Economic Community of West African States says it can no longer hesitate when it comes to northern Mali, which has been under the control of al-Qaida-linked militants since early April, after a military coup toppled the central government in Bamako.
 
Foreign and defense ministers from member states met Monday in Abidjan to approve a plan for the ECOWAS mission to Mali.

ECOWAS Ministerial Council President Daniel Kablan Duncan, said they were able to harmonize their positions and define a "road map" for the type of collaboration to be established between the regional forces and the Malian army, and the means of support to be offered to the Malian army.

Duncan said the council will report its conclusions to the ECOWAS heads of state who will discuss and then formally respond to Mali's request.  It has been two weeks since Mali sent a request to ECOWAS asking for limited military assistance.

ECOWAS has proposed sending regional troops to Bamako to secure what has been a weak transitional government and to help re-organize and train the Malian army.  In a third phase a joint Mali-ECOWAS offensive would be launched to retake the north.

But in its request Mali ruled out foreign-troop deployment to Bamako, requesting only equipment and other logistical support.  It was clear from the request the Malian army would be leading the charge to the north.  Mali requested five ECOWAS battalions to hold recaptured towns and air support.

Ivory Coast's U.N. envoy, Youssoufou Bamba, told the U.N. Security Council Mali's request "fell short of the anticipation of the ECOWAS Authority."

"The request for military deployment only for Phase III can hardly be fulfilled, because it will be extremely difficult and strategically unwise to deploy troops in the north of the country, without a coordinating center in Bamako," Bamba said.

Bamba said ECOWAS would be requesting fighter jets and other heavy combat assets for Phase 3 of the mission.   He told the Security Council ECOWAS continues to encounter "fierce resistance" in Mali from some members of the ex-junta and a "vocal minority" within Malian society.

"The question of leadership in Mall remains unclear and this is sending confused signals," Bamba said.

ECOWAS says it will seek a U.N. Security Council intervention mandate.  The Security Council turned down a previous request in June, saying it was too vague.  On Monday, the Security Council urged Mali and other actors to first "exhaust all means of negotiation" to resolve the crisis.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

America's Most Exotic Presidential Pets

From alligators to bears, the White House has been home to some unusual presidential pets over the years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs