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US Pledges to Help Mali with Long-Term Stability



The top U.S. diplomat for Africa says any military success in Mali will be "fleeting" without a democratic government that responds to the needs of all Malians.

Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson told a congressional committee Thursday the United States is ready to help rebuild Mali's long-term stability.

The Pentagon is already supporting French forces who have been fighting Islamic militants in Mali for more than a month. Carson says the U.S. has carried out refueling and supply missions and transported French and Chadian forces.

French forces entered Mali last month when Islamic militants, who seized control of the north last year, started to move towards the capital, Bamako.

West African troops have started to take over the mission from France. The United Nations is considering taking control of an international peacekeeping force.

Also Thursday, a senior Malian government official announced that new presidential and parliamentary elections will be held July 7 with runoffs set for July 21.



Carson:

"We will continue to work to ensure that military success can be translated into long-term political stability by encouraging expedited elections, marginalizing the military junta, holding accountable all perpetrators of human rights abuses and violations, including those who are in the Malian army, and supporting a national reconciliation process that addresses the longstanding and legitimate grievances of northern populations, including those of the Tuareg."

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