News / Africa

    US Pledges to Help Mali With Long-Term Stability

    Children listen to a school teacher after the reopening of Mahamane Fondogoumo elementary school in the town center of Timbuktu, Feb. 1, 2013.Children listen to a school teacher after the reopening of Mahamane Fondogoumo elementary school in the town center of Timbuktu, Feb. 1, 2013.
    x
    Children listen to a school teacher after the reopening of Mahamane Fondogoumo elementary school in the town center of Timbuktu, Feb. 1, 2013.
    Children listen to a school teacher after the reopening of Mahamane Fondogoumo elementary school in the town center of Timbuktu, Feb. 1, 2013.
    Cindy Saine
    Senior Obama administration officials are defending their response to requests for French assistance in the European country's military operations in the West African country of Mali.
     
    Testifying in front of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson said the United States is pledging to help with Mali's long-term stability after the current crisis is resolved.
     
    A January military offensive by French and Malian army forces drove Islamist militants from towns and cities across northern Mali, where they had imposed a harsh form of Islamic law, raising fears the region could become a base for international terrorists.
     
    House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce, a Republican, praised France for taking military decisive action but faulted Democratic President Barack Obama’s administration for not responding quickly enough to requests from Paris for help.
     
    “When France sought U.S. assistance, the administration was tepid in answering our allies’ calls," said Royce. "It seems the bureaucracy slowed our pace of support.”
     
    But the top State and Defense Department officials testifying at the hearing defended the U.S. response. Assistant Secretary of State Johnnie Carson, the top U.S. diplomat to Africa, detailed U.S. support.
     
    “The United States strongly supports France’s efforts and has actively engaged to assist France in Mali," he said. "As of February 13th, we have conducted 22 refueling missions.”

    Story continues below 
    • Malian soldiers man a bridge at the entrance of Gao, northern Mali where a suicide bomber on a motorcycle killed himself attempting to blow up an army checkpoint, Feb. 8, 2013.
    • Malian soldiers stand by a motorcycle used by a suicide bomber at the entrance of Gao, northern Mali, Feb. 8, 2013.
    • Malian soldiers inspect an explosive they found after residents notified authorities of suspicious bags left by radicals when they fled Gao, northern Mali, February 6, 2013.
    • A Malian man walks between doors of closed shops in Gao, northern Mali, February 5, 2013.
    • A child stands by his donkey cart, in Gao, northern Mali, February 5, 2013.
    • Men carry humanitarian food aid toward boats, Mopti, Mali, February 4, 2013.
    • A Malian woman looks at men carrying humanitarian food aid, Mopti, Mali, February 4, 2013.
    • Malian soldiers escort prisoners, who are suspected al-Qaida-allied fighters, in front of a military cell in Mopti, Mali, February 4, 2013.
    • A convoy of Malian troops on the road to Gao, northern Mali, February 4, 2013.
    • French President Francois Hollande holds hands with Mali's interim President Dioncounda Traoré in Timbuktu, Mali, February 2, 2013.
    • A man takes a close look at a burned-out truck in Timbuktu, Mali, January 31, 2013.

    Carson said the U.S. Air Force has also flown 43 C-17 sorties to support French and Chadian personnel, providing supplies, equipment and intelligence.
     
    Democratic Congressman Brad Sherman said the U.S. cannot and should not always be in the lead in fighting terrorists around the world.
     
    “But the fact is, we need allies and we cannot always be in the lead in every theater in this conflict," said Sherman. "In this case, we are behind, and we should stand behind France and applaud their efforts in Mali.”
     
    France is beginning to wind down its mission as West African troops move into Mali. The United Nations is considering plans to assume control of an international peacekeeping force in the country.
     
    But Chairman Royce warned that he fears there is not much peace in Mali to be kept, and that what is needed are battle-hardened forces like those of the French Foreign Legion.
     
    Assistant Secretary of State Carson said the transition from West African forces to U.N. peacekeeping forces would not be hasty or premature, but that advance planning is important.
     
    Carson also cautioned that Mali’s problems are complex and cannot be solved by military intervention alone. He said that peacekeeping efforts must be accompanied by democratic elections in Mali, free from intimidation and interference.
     
    Carson pledged long-term U.S. support for peace and stability in Mali, saying any military success there will be "fleeting" without a democratic government that responds to the needs of all Malians.
     
    Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

    You May Like

    S. African Farmer Goes From 'Voice in the Wilderness' to Sought-After Expert

    Margarest Roberts has authored more than 40 books on subjects like organic farming, urban agriculture, herbs and ‘superfoods'

    Millennial Men Prefer Bucks Over Beauty

    U.S. men aged 18 to 34 say the finances of a potential significant other are more important than her looks

    Multimedia Lebanese Clown Troupe Marks Valentine's Day Amid Stink

    Activists resort to unusual approaches to raise public awareness of country’s ongoing trash crisis

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clownsi
    X
    February 09, 2016 8:04 PM
    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video Foreign Policy Weighs Heavy for Some US Voters

    VOA talks to protesters in Manchester, New Hampshire who sound off on foreign policy issues such as the Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Middle East Affairs and national security.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.