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

    Syrian Torture Victim Recounts Horrors

    'You make them think you have surrendered' says Jalal Nofal, a doctor who was jailed and survived repeated interrogations in Syria

    Mandela’s Millions Paid to Heirs, But Who Gets His Country Home?

    Saga around $3 million estate of country's first democratic president is far from over as Winnie Mandela’s fight for home overshadows payouts

    Guess Which Beach is 'Best in the US'?

    Hawaii’s Hanauma Bay tops an annual "top 10" list compiled by a coastal scientist, also known as Doctor Beach

    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.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora