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UN Supports Africa Lead On Mali

Resolution provides comprehensive approach to overlapping governance, security and humanitarian crises affecting Mali.

The United Nations Security Council has taken a key step on behalf of the international community to address the ongoing crisis in Mali. Acting at the request of the West African nation’s transitional government, the council approved a resolution confirming its readiness to respond to a request for support for deploying an international military peacekeeping force to help restore Mali’s territorial integrity. The United States voted for the resolution, as it provides a comprehensive approach to the overlapping governance, security and humanitarian crises affecting Mali.

The 15-nation council on October 12 unanimously approved resolution 2071 that calls on the Economic Community of West African States and the African Union to present a detailed plan for military intervention in the crisis, which has displaced hundreds of thousands of people. Logistical and organizational support from the U.N. might be made available for the effort if the ECOWAS and AU plan is approved in a second Security Council vote.

The resolution approved last week offers a comprehensive approach by imposing sanctions against militants linked to the al Qaeda terror network now entrenched in Northern Mali; supporting a process of negotiation to seek a sustainable political solution to the political, economic and development concerns underlying the separatist movement that set off the crisis in the North; and expressing the readiness of the Security Council to respond to Mali’s request for military aid.

The Mali crisis, moreover, is an African crisis, and the United States agrees with regional leaders that the AU and ECOWAS should play a leadership role in planning and implementing any such response. Beyond military action, strengthening civilian democratic institutions must be at the heart of combating extremism and political upheaval. Accordingly, we believe that restoration of a democratically elected government in Mali by April 2013, as called for by ECOWAS, is a critical component of the overall long-term solution to the Mali crisis.

We look forward to ECOWAS’s response to the UN action and for continued international attention regarding the serious situation in Mali.