Lagos, Nigeria (PANA) - The UN Security Council is seeking detailed information on the plan by ECOWAS to send troops to Mali as part of regional initiatives aimed at resolving the crisis in the country, which has been divided into a rebel/Islamist-held north and a government-controlled south.
The Council made the request following an address on Friday by ECOWAS Commission President Kadre Desire Ouedraogo, who led a high-level regional delegation to New York, an ECOWAS Commission statement made available to PANA here said.
The Council however commended all the initiatives undertaken by ECOWAS on the Mali crisis, the statement said.
The detailed information being sought by the Council has to do with the planning and operationalization of the force to be deployed to Mali to help in restoring the country's territorial integrity, in the event that ongoing mediation efforts fail.
ECOWAS leaders have approved the deployment of a 3,000-strong force to Mali, and the regional group announced recently it would seek the approval of the UN Security Council for the deployment of the troops under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, which allows for sanctions, including economic measures and an arms embargo, as well as military force, to maintain peace.
However, it is apparent that the 15-member Council will need to obtain and consider the detailed information which it is seeking before giving its approval. Also, the Council is calling for effective coordination among ECOWAS, African Union (AU), UN and corecountries.
In his address, President Ouedraogo explained that the “viability of the Malian State is on the line,” while regional, continental and international stability and security are also threatened by the political situation following the recent coup d’état and the separatist rebellion in north of the country.
“The security and humanitarian implications of the crisis in Mali appeal to our common responsibility and our commitment to maintain international peace and security,” he said. “The situation demands a rapid and effective coordinated international action to meet the challenges, including actions to create the necessary conditions to allow the transitional institutions to fully carry out their responsibilities while scrupulously respecting fundamental freedoms.''.
He also said the coordinated international being sought by the regional bloc would assist Mali in restoring its authority and regaining its unity and territorial integrity.
President Ouedraogo said the ECOWAS initiative involves helping to secure the transitional institutions and the liberation of the cities under siege, as well as the fight against established terrorist and criminal networks.
He said given that “the demoralized, disintegrated and poorly equipped Malian army is not in a position to face these challenges alone,” and the need to have a stable and legitimate government in Bamako that can carry out government business, he said the deployment of a force to Mali, under Chapter 7 of the United Nations Charter, is essential.
“It is critical not only to improve our collective security, but also to help secure the transition and the restoration of the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of the country, as well as to create the necessary conditions for humanitarian assistance and the protection of human rights,” the ECOWAS chief said.
-0- PANA SEG 17June2012