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.
TEXT SIZE - +
— 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

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest 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.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid