W African bloc seeks urgent UN aid

2013-01-20 12:06

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Abidjan - West African leaders on Saturday sought urgent UN aid for a regional force to fight Islamists in Mali as President Francois Hollande said French troops would remain as long as needed to stamp out "terrorism".

The emergency summit of the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) regional bloc also called on member states and Chad, which has pledged 2 000 troops, to put words into action without haste.

Only about 100 African soldiers of a planned 5 800 African force have so far reached Mali, while France said Saturday that 2 000 French soldiers were now on the ground after Paris launched an offensive a little over a week ago to stop Islamists swooping down from the north, which is under their control.

A statement at the end of the Abidjan meeting called on the United Nations "to immediately provide financial and logistical backing for the deployment of MISMA", the African force.

African troop deployments have always been long-drawn affairs. A diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: "The truth is that Ecowas has no money to transport its troops".

Take charge

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who also attended the summit, said it was time for the Africans to take charge of the task of halting the extremist advance "as soon as possible".

"It is vital that the maximum number of countries worldwide contribute" to the effort, he said, speaking ahead of a donors' conference in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on 29 January.

"France was obliged to intervene very, very rapidly, otherwise there would have been no more Mali," Fabius said. "But it is well understood that it is the Africans that must pick up the baton."

But Hollande, speaking in France, said: "I am often asked the question: how long will this last? I reply... 'As long as is necessary'. As long as is necessary so that terrorism can be defeated in that part of Africa".

Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara, who is also the current head of Ecowas, said it was high time others did their bit to help end the crisis.

Major powers must commit

"The hour has come for a broader commitment by the major powers and more countries and organisations to the military operations to show greater solidarity with France and Africa," he said.

"We must speed up the re-establishment of Mali's territorial integrity with the logistical support of our partners ... (and) go beyond our current deployment numbers," Ouattara said, warning that the crisis threatened to destabilise the region.

Malian soldiers, backed by French troops and air power, retook the key central town of Konna on Thursday from al-Qaeda-linked rebels who had swooped down more than a week ago and threatened the capital Bamako.

There were conflicting reports on another town, Diabaly, which the Malian army claimed was recaptured but the French defence ministry effectively denied this.

Mali's interim President Dioncounda Traore, in an address on state television late Saturday, vowed to rout the Islamists who he said wanted "to impose a medieval ideology on our people".

"This war will be without doubt costly and tiring," he said but added: "We will win this war in the name of civilisation and democracy."

Traore also appealed to other countries to back the drive against the militants by extending "logistical and any other kind of aid to create a region that is rid of terrorism, drug trafficking and organised crime".

Read more on:    al-qaeda  |  mali  |  west africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
7 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
SPONSORED CONTENT
When is a mountain more than just a mountain? 2014-12-18 07:26

When it’s an adventure! A group of Old Mutual employees found out how much is enough courage, endurance and camaraderie to take on Africa's highest peak.

/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

Christmas lingerie to make this festive season the best one ever!
13 things you might not know about Disneyland
The craziest deaths of 2014
How to make this a sensual, sexy summer!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

At last you are able to see the light. You are able to break through obstacles in an innovative and original way. Visualisation is...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.