UNITED NATIONS, Jan 15 (KUNA) -- France late Monday said it got the support
of the Security Council members and that of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for
the military intervention it began last Friday in Mali to defeat the terrorist
groups that drove southward in the last few days taking control of key towns
on their way to the capital Bamako.
French Ambassador Gerard Araud told reporters following a closed meeting of
the Council, late on Monday, that he briefed the members in "total
transparency" about the latest developments in Mali and that "all the members
of the Security Council expressed their support and their understanding of the
French decision" to launch the military intervention last Thursday to dislodge
terrorist groups from the north of Mali.
"All the members of the Security Council have recognized that we were
acting in perfect international legality, on the basis of the UN Charter and
upon the request of the Malian authorities," he added.
He insisted that "our political priority has not changed: it is the quick
implementation of resolution 2085 in all its dimensions, especially through
the immediate deployment of the African forces," adding that these forces are
going to be deployed in the coming days or weeks.
He also insisted that the real solution will be a political one. "We want
to support a political process in Bamako and also the reconciliation between
Malians of the North and the South, the negotiations with the armed groups who
dissociate themselves from terrorism."
France began its air offensive on Friday after the armed groups overran the
town of Konna, which had been on the de facto dividing line between those
areas under Government control and those already occupied by the rebels.
Malian rebel soldiers overthrew the government last March and took control
of the north of the country. They were soon controlled by Al-Qaida-related
groups which began to impose the strict Shari'a law in the area. They want to
expand their control all over the West African country.
Ban, who had a "long conversation" with French Foreign Minister Laurent
Fabius on Sunday, also expressed his support to France.
He welcomed the response of "bilateral partners" to the plea for assistance
from the Government of Mali to counter the "troubling push" southward by
Al-Qaida-related armed groups.
"The Secretary-General hopes these (French) actions will help to arrest the
latest offensive while efforts continue to fully implement Security Council
Resolution 2085 aimed at the full restoration of Mali's constitutional order
and territorial integrity," his press office said in a statement.
Ban stressed that the latest events underscore the urgency of implementing
all aspects of resolution 2085, including support for Malian defence forces
and the deployment of the African-led International Support Mission in Mali
(AFISMA), which the Council authorized in that resolution.
He noted that preparations are also continuing for the deployment "soon" of
a UN multidisciplinary team to Bamako to carry forward the UN's support
requested by the Malian authorities, including on both the political and
The renewed clashes in the north, as well as the proliferation of armed
groups in the region following the fall of the Gaddafi regime in Libya,
drought and political instability have uprooted hundreds of thousands of
civilians in Mali. Over 412,000 people have been forced to flee the north, and
an estimated five million people have been affected by the conflict. (end)
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