UN ready to commit peacekeepers to Mali after armed intervention

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) - UN will deploy an international peacekeeping operation in Mali once the armed operation to oust Islamist insurgents is over, Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon announced here Sunday.

Addressing the African Union (AU) Summit, which was mostly dominated by the crisis in Mali, Ban said the UN was committed to doing whatever was possible to help the Malian people in need of international assistance.

"We are determined to do what we can to help the people of Mali. Humanitarian agencies are helping suffering civilians...this is a moral imperative for all the international community," Ban said.

The UN chief said besides sending military specialists and a political team to the ground in Mali, he had also sought the the UN Security Council's approval for a logistical package to support the African-led Mission there.

"Mali is under threat from extremist armed insurgents. I welcome the timely bilateral assistance to the Malian army in response to the Government's request," the UN chief said in an apparent reference to the French military assistance in Mali.

African leaders roundly welcomed the French operation as efforts continue to deploy the African-led international Support Mission (AFISMA).

The AU Summit, which sought the revision of the earlier authorised troop strength of 3,200 from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), is currently discussing a possible doubling of the numbers.

The Peace and Security Council of the AU, which met earlier at the Heads of State level, authorised the troop enlargement, called for the enlisting of spoilers in Mali for possible sanctions and requested for AU human rights monitors to enter Mali.

UN officials said the speedy deployment of the operation should be backed by a comprehensive political process.

"This includes agreeing on a roadmap leading to the full restoration of constitutional order," Ban said.
-0- PANA AO/VAO 27Jan2013

27 janvier 2013 15:29:27

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