The U.N. Security Council has called for a “swift” response to the crisis in Mali, saying the situation there threatens regional peace and security.
The 15-nation Council said Monday that a comprehensive and strategic approach is needed that includes restoring Mali's territorial integrity and preventing further destabilization of other countries in Africa's Sahel region.
Rebels and Islamist extremist groups seized control of northern Mali earlier this year. Some of those groups imposed a harsh form of Islamic law, and more than 140,000 people have fled Mali.
The West African regional bloc ECOWAS was represented at Monday's Security Council meeting by Ivory Coast Foreign Minister Charles Koffi Diby. He urged the Council to quickly authorize an African-led force of 3,300 troops to help restore stability to Mali.
In Brussels, EU foreign ministers approved a plan to deploy an EU military training mission in Mali to help the government regain control of the north. Under the plan, some 250 EU military personnel would be sent there to train Malian troops and help restructure the country's weakened army.