News / Africa

France Calls on African Forces to Take Lead in Mali

Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara (L) greets Dioncounda Traore, Acting President of Mali, after an extraordinary summit of West African regional bloc ECOWAS on the crisis in Mali, Abidjan, January 19, 2013.
Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara (L) greets Dioncounda Traore, Acting President of Mali, after an extraordinary summit of West African regional bloc ECOWAS on the crisis in Mali, Abidjan, January 19, 2013.
France’s foreign minister has called on African forces to take the lead in the military campaign against Islamist rebels occupying northern Mali.  But a highly anticipated meeting Saturday in the Ivorian capitol, Abidjan, featuring heads of state from the West African regional body ECOWAS ended without any major announcements about the African deployment.

ECOWAS leaders have been meeting for the better part of a year to come with a plan to oust the Islamists from northern Mali.  The Islamists took control of the north not long after a military coup in the landlocked country last March.

But earlier this month, it was France that intervened after the Islamists began a push toward the southern capital of Bamako.  Although ECOWAS almost immediately promised to send troops of its own, few have actually arrived, and fundamental questions about the financing and execution of the African deployment remain unanswered.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius attends crisis talks on Mali in Ivory Coast, Jan. 19, 2013.French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius attends crisis talks on Mali in Ivory Coast, Jan. 19, 2013.
x
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius attends crisis talks on Mali in Ivory Coast, Jan. 19, 2013.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius attends crisis talks on Mali in Ivory Coast, Jan. 19, 2013.
At a press conference on the sidelines of Saturday’s summit, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said African armies would need to “take the lead,” but he acknowledged it could be weeks before they are in a position to do so.

"Now, we shall have in the coming days more and more African troops coming directly in Bamako and in different places in Mali," said Fabius. "And step by step they will deploy.  On the other hand, Europe has decided to train the Malian army because the Malian army is both committed and acting in the combat, but at the same time they have to be trained and equipped in a better way.  Step by step, I think it's a question from what I heard this morning of some days, some weeks, the African troops will take over," he said.

Some analysts had predicted further troop commitments, but little news was announced at the close of Saturday’s summit, and organizers canceled a scheduled press conference.

The final communique, read aloud by ECOWAS Commission President Kadre Desire Ouedraogo, praised an earlier pledge by Chad to provide some 2,000 troops to the Mali mission, and asked other African countries to become involved.

Both Fabius and African leaders urged countries from around the world to help launch the African deployment to Mali.  A conference for donors is scheduled to be held January 29 in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

You May Like

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Watching
January 19, 2013 10:52 PM
France is to be commended for its swift action and demonstrated its ability to uphold what it believes to
be the correct action. Let this be an example to other
Western Countries should another time arise in Southern Africa?
no guessing involved.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More