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Mali: Security Council requests details of proposed West African stabilization force

Security Council President, Ambassador Gérard Araud of France.
UN Photo/Evan Schneider
Security Council President, Ambassador Gérard Araud of France.

Mali: Security Council requests details of proposed West African stabilization force

Condemning violations of human rights and the destruction of ancient sites in Mali, which is gripped by insurgencies in the north and political turmoil in the capital, the Security Council today encouraged countries and organizations in the region to prepare detailed proposals for a stabilization force for the West African country.

In a statement read to correspondents by Gerard Araud, Permanent Representative of France, which holds the Council’s rotating Presidency for the month of August, members of the 15-Member body encouraged the Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS) to prepare detailed options for “the objectives, means and modalities” of the proposed regional force.

In that effort, it requested ECOWAS to work closely with the Malian Transitional authorities, the Commission of the African Union, and countries in the region, with the support of the Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

The Council also encouraged ECOWAS to influence the Malian interim Government clarify its position on a planning conference scheduled to take place from 9 to 13 August 2012 in Bamako with the participation of all stakeholders.

In January, fighting between Government forces and Tuareg rebels broke out in northern Mali. The instability and insecurity resulting from the renewed clashes, as well as the proliferation of armed groups in the region and political instability in the wake of a military coup d’état in March, have led over 250,000 Malians to flee to neighbouring countries, with 174,000 Malians estimated to be internally displaced.

The goals of the force proposed by ECOWAS would be to support the political process in Mali, leading to the reestablishment of constitutional order, restructure and reorganize the Malian security and defence forces, and assist in upholding the territorial integrity of Mali and in combating terrorism.

According to Ambassador Araud, members of the Security Council also welcomed the return to Mali’s capital, Bamako, of Interim President Dioncounda Traoré, who was removed by the March coup.

They reiterated their full support to the mediation efforts of ECOWAS and the AU for bringing about the swift appointment of an inclusive Government of national unity, the continuation of efforts to ensure the consolidation of Government institutions and the holding of elections as soon as possible.

Council members also reiterated their demand that the National Council for the Recovery of Democracy and the Restoration of the State (CNRDRE), the leadership of the coup, be dissolved, calling again on all members of the Malian armed forces to return to their barracks and to refrain from any interference in political matters and in the work of the Transitional authorities.