Security Council Examining Request for African Troops in Mali

Tuareg Islamists who have seized northern Mali
Tuareg Arabs have seized northern Mali

The U.N. Security Council said today it will further examine a request for a United Nations mandate for the deployment of an African stabilization force to Mali, which has been beset by political instability and insecurity since earlier this year.

Fighting resumed in January in northern Mali between Government forces and Arab Tuareg invaders. The instability and insecurity resulting from the renewed clashes, as well as the proliferation of armed terrorist groups in that region, and a deepening crisis due to a coup d’état in March, have uprooted nearly 320,000 people, with many of them fleeing to neighbouring countries.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union have requested a Security Council mandate authorizing the deployment of an ECOWAS stabilization force to ensure the protection of Malian state institutions and assist in upholding the territorial integrity of Mali and in combating terrorism.

The request was discussed during a meeting between the Council and a high-level delegation last Friday in New York.

Council members took note of the request, according to a statement issued by the 15-member body to the press.

They “expressed their readiness to further examine the request of ECOWAS once additional information has been provided regarding the objectives, means and modalities of the envisaged deployment and other possible measures,” it said.

“The members of the Security Council encouraged a political settlement of the crisis and reiterated their full support to the mediation efforts currently made by ECOWAS and its mediator, President Blaise Compaoré, as well as by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa and by the African Union,” the statement added.