• All Share : 52242.12
    UP 0.61%
    Top 40 : 4482.88
    UP 0.90%
    Financial 15 : 14868.65
    UP 0.68%
    Industrial 25 : 59601.87
    UP 0.48%

  • ZAR/USD : 10.5991
    UP 0.43%
    ZAR/GBP : 17.9603
    UP 0.16%
    ZAR/EUR : 14.2173
    UP 0.19%
    ZAR/JPY : 0.1038
    UP 0.15%
    ZAR/AUD : 9.9457
    UP 0.15%

  • Gold : 1299.1600
    DOWN -0.34%
    Platinum : 1478.5000
    DOWN -0.37%
    Silver : 20.5850
    UP 0.06%
    Palladium : 878.5000
    UP 0.40%
    Brent Crude Oil : 107.500
    DOWN -0.20%

  • All data is delayed by 15 min. Data supplied by INET BFA
    Hover cursor over this ticker to pause.

Wed Jul 30 00:59:34 SAST 2014

UN forces will take months to set up in Mali: France

Sapa | 28 February, 2013 07:22
People walk around the burnt main market in Gao. The market was destroyed during combat between radical Islamists and Malian and French forces.
Image by: JOE PENNEY / REUTERS

France, which is battling Islamist militants in Mali, will not formally propose setting up a UN peacekeeping force to take over until at least April, the French UN ambassador says.

France sent troops to Mali in January to halt an Islamist advance on the capital and force rebels out of cities they had seized in the north of the country. French and Chadian forces are now embroiled in a guerrilla war there.

France's UN envoy Gerard Araud said the UN Security Council had on Wednesday agreed to send a letter to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon asking for a study on "the modalities and conditions for the creation of a peacekeeping force."

The report will have to be ready by the end of March. Araud said the Security Council would then start negotiating setting up the force.

France had said it wanted to start withdrawing its 4,000 troops from Mali in March.

But even if a resolution is passed in April, it normally takes up to three months after that for the United Nations to set up its own military command. Araud said it could be done in two months in this case.

An African force is already gathering in Mali which should form the core of any UN force, but peacekeepers could not take part in the kind of strikes against militants that the French and Chadians have conducted.

French troops will hand over to the UN peacekeepers "when the security conditions allow it," Araud said, without giving any timeframe.

The Security Council will decide if it is safe enough to send peacekeepers, he added.

The Malian government must also agree to the UN force, and there has still been no clear request for one from the transitional administration.

President Dioncounda Traore sent a letter to the UN leader last week.

Araud quoted the letter as saying that Traore requested the "rapid deployment" of a West African force, currently operating as AFISMA, "to restore the authority and sovereignty of the Malian state."

"The realization of these targets would lead us toward the transformation of AFISMA into a UN stabilization and peacekeeping operation," Araud quoted the letter as saying.

During consultations on Mali, Security Council members stressed the need to press for reconciliation and a political accord between the Bamako government and ethnic Tuaregs and Arabs in the north.

Malian troops have been accused of carrying out reprisal killings and human rights abuses in towns they have retaken from the rebels.

Araud said he had called on the UN secretariat to "accelerate" the sending of rights observers to Mali, adding that French forces would protect the UN observers "if necessary."

SHARE YOUR OPINION

If you have an opinion you would like to share on this article, please send us an e-mail to the Times LIVE iLIVE team. In the mean time, click here to view the Times LIVE iLIVE section.
Wed Jul 30 00:59:34 SAST 2014 ::