Ban - 'moral imperative' to support Mali

2013-01-28 16:48
(File, AFP)

(File, AFP)

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Addis Ababa - UN leader Ban Ki-moon warned on Monday there is a "moral imperative" to support Mali in its battle against Islamist militants.

Ban, speaking at the African Union headquarters on the final day of the 54-member bloc's summit meeting, said he was "determined to help the people of Mali at this critical hour".

"This is a moral imperative for the entire international community," he told reporters.

After the summit, African leaders are expected to stay behind for a donor conference on Tuesday to drum up support for the African-led mission in Mali, or Afisma.

Ban said the UN was now "actively considering" his recommendations to the Security Council as to how it "can help those African countries in terms of logistical support".

Discussions at the AU summit have been dominated by Mali, including the scaling up of African troops to support the Malian army.

The AU has said it wants to bolster the strength of the force, and on Friday gave member states one week to commit troops to the mission.

Mali's army, boosted by the recent French military intervention, is battling Islamist insurgents who seized swathes of Mali's desert north following a coup last year.

"The welcome contribution and decisive action of the French government alongside Malian and the African forces has allowed significant advances in the restoration of Malian territorial integrity," Ban said.

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