AU Endorses Mali Military Intervention

Posted November 14th, 2012 at 4:00 am (UTC-5)
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The African Union has endorsed a plan for military intervention to help oust Islamist militants from northern Mali.

Following AU approval Tuesday, the proposal must now clear the United Nations Security Council.

AU Peace and Security Council Commissioner Ramtane Lamamra urged the world body to authorize an initial one-year deployment. He says the effort aims to regain control of the northern territory, dismantle terrorist networks and restore the government's authority across all of Mali.

Mali's interim government requested forces to help drive out the Islamist militant groups that took control of northern Mali after a coup in March toppled the elected government. The West African bloc ECOWAS gave its approval Sunday for a one-year, 3,000-troop force.

Lamamra says he thinks the United Nations will adopt a resolution before the end of the year.

The U.N. special envoy for the Sahel, Romano Prodi, said Tuesday there is still potential for negotiations to bring an end to the crisis and that he sees preparations for a military response as a “necessary instrument” to help those efforts.

He also highlighted the need to push for unity in Mali's government, saying divisions are an obstacle to preserving the solidarity of the country.

Prodi plans to hold a meeting next month to coordinate actions with regional and international envoys, including those from France, Britain and the African Union.

Meanwhile, U.N. West Africa envoy Said Djinnit held talks with representatives from Ansar Dine, one of three al-Qaida-linked groups controlling parts of northern Mali.

Djinnit stressed a priority for resolving the situation through dialogue.

Earlier this month, Ansar Dine declared it rejects ties to terrorism and is ready to negotiate with Mali's transitional authorities.