Balkanized Mali seeks UN nod for military intervention


UNITED NATIONS(AFP) – Mali has sent a letter to the United Nations formally requesting authorization for a West African-led military force to help it seize back territory from Islamist rebels, France said Monday.

Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius of France, which has offered to provide logistical support for regional intervention, revealed the existence of the letter on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.

“The Malian government wants this force,” he said, adding that the letter was signed by Mali’s President Dioncounda Traore and Prime Minister Cheikh Modibo Diarra and had been sent to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on September 18.

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He said the request outlined the precise terms under which Mali envisaged welcoming troops from the West African regional bloc ECOWAS to fight alongside government forces battling to recover land lost to rebel forces.

UN member states are to hold talks on the crisis in the Sahel region, which includes Mali, on Wednesday on the sidelines of the General Assembly.

Fabius expressed the hope that this would lead rapidly to a vote at the UN Security Council on whether to authorize an intervention.

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