News24

Mali welcomes UN approval of military force

2012-12-21 22:21

Bamako - Mali's government on Friday hailed the UN Security Council approval for an African-led military force to re-conquer the north from Islamist militants as a sign of international support for its "war against the terrorists".

"We are grateful to the international community, a consensus has been reached on the Malian situation," said an advisor to Mali's interim president, Dioncounda Traore.

"We are going to wage war against the terrorists and continue to negotiate with our brothers who are ready for dialogue," he added.

A Security Council resolution adopted Thursday gave the African-led force an initial one-year mandate to use "all necessary measures" to help Mali's government take back territory seized in the wake of a March coup from "terrorist, extremist and armed groups".

But the 15-member council said military force can only be used after political efforts had been exhausted. It insisted that the military plans would have to be refined and approved before any offensive started.

Another Mali politician Mustapha Cisse said the UN vote showed "the willingness of the international community not to abandon Mali to its own devices.

"We must now urgently define our priorities so that this resolution becomes a reality, so that Mali can recover sovereignty over all its territory."

Al-Qaeda linked groups and other Islamists that have taken over regions in northern Mali have imposed a brutal form of sharia law.

In response, West African nations have put together a force of some 3,300 troops ready to go to Mali to help rebuild the country's army and support a military operation, which is not expected to start before September next year.