• France's news in English

Hollande urges African intervention in Mali crisis

AFP · 26 Sep 2012, 10:33

Published: 26 Sep 2012 10:33 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Hollande, making his first speech to the UN General Assembly, said Mali needs help to seize back territory from Islamist rebels, who captured the north and east of the country after a coup created a power vacuum in March.

"We have to act, act together and act quickly, because it is urgently needed," Hollande said, urging world leaders to back a UN Security Council resolution "to help Mali win back its territorial integrity."

Hollande said the situation in the north of the country is "is unbearable and unacceptable."

Human Rights Watch said on Tuesday that Mali's Islamist rebels are carrying out increasingly grave abuses in their pursuit of strict Islamic law.

The militias have arrested unveiled women, stoned an unmarried couple to death, publicly flogged smokers, amputated limbs of suspected thieves, and enlisted child soldiers as young as 12, the rights group said.

Hollande reiterated that Paris was prepared to support any initiatives taken by African nations to confront the crisis.

Mali has sent a letter to the United Nations formally seeking authorization for a West African-led military force, which French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has said would number about 3,000 troops.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon has convened talks on the crisis in the Sahel region on Wednesday on the sidelines of the UN meeting, due to be addressed by Hollande and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

"The Malian government wants this force," Fabius said earlier, adding that the letter was signed by Mali's President Dioncounda Traore and Prime Minister Cheikh Modibo Diarra and had been sent to Ban on September 18th.

During a dinner late Monday, Hollande and Ban also discussed the possibility of appointing a UN envoy to Mali.

Chaos erupted in Mali in March when military putschists seized power in the capital, ousting President Amadou Toumani Toure, only to see the north and east fall to Tuareg rebels and Islamist militias.

HRW said there was little difference between the three main groups that capitalized on the power vacuum to seize the vast desert north, one of which is Al-Qaeda's north African branch, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

France has offered to supply logistical support for any military force, in what is a delicate situation for the former colonial power, with six French hostages held in the area by AQIM.

The group threatened last week to execute hostages if there is any military intervention in the region.

"The need to free our hostages should not cause us to abandon efforts to ensure Mali's territorial integrity," Hollande said.

Story continues below…

"Let it be understood that there is no question of deploying French troops on the ground," Fabius stressed earlier, denying French press reports which suggested French special forces are already in Mali.

"It is up to the Africans, working under a UN mandate, to take the necessary action," he said, adding France wanted to act as a facilitator to help Mali rid itself of terror groups.

However, there are still hurdles to overcome including defining the objectives of any forces and the terms of an agreement between the Mali government and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

ECOWAS has 3,300 regional troops on standby but wants UN approval and has been awaiting the go-ahead from Mali.

Mali will only accept troops from ECOWAS as part of the intervention, a source close to the Malian president's office said Tuesday, adding that the mission would last for six months, renewable if Mali deemed it necessary.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
France’s 'Jungle' children arrive in UK
Authorities will start to clear the ‘Jungle’ migrant camp on Monday. Photo: Denis Charlet / AFP file picture

The first group of children from the French "Jungle" migrant camp with no connection to Britain have arrived in the country, the Home Office said Sunday, ahead of the camp's planned demolition.

French FM calls for end to Aleppo 'massacre'
French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault says the international community cannot ‘come to a negotiation under the bombs’. Photo: Dominick Reuter / AFP file picture

France's foreign minister urged the international community to "do everything" to end the "massacre" in the Syrian city of Aleppo on Sunday after fighting resumed following a 72-hour truce declared by Damascus ally Russia.

French cheer police, reviving Charlie spirit
French police officers on Saturday demonstrated for the fifth night in a row to protest mounting attacks on officers. Photo: Thomas Samson / AFP

Angry French police have taken to the streets for five nights in a row -- and Parisians have started to cheer them on, reviving scenes last seen following the Charlie Hebdo attacks in 2015.

Scarlett Johansson turns popcorn girl in Paris
US actress Scarlett Johansson greets customers at the Yummy Pop gourmet popcorn shop in the Marais district of Paris. Photo: Benjamin Cremel / AFP

Hollywood superstar Scarlett Johansson swapped the red carpet for a turn behind the counter at her new popcorn shop in Paris on Saturday.

US couple donates huge art collection to Paris
Marlene (centre) and Spencer (right) are donating their collection ‘for the benefit of art lovers’. Photo: Thomas Samson / AFP

A Texan couple who discovered their love for art during a trip to Paris in the 1970s are to donate the multi-million dollar collection they have amassed since to the French capital.

France to clear 'Jungle' migrant camp Monday
Migrants will be bussed from the camp to some 300 temporary accommodation centres around France. Photo: Denis Charlet/ AFP

The "Jungle" migrant camp on France's northern coast will be cleared of its residents on Monday before being demolished, authorities said Friday.

How life for expats in France has changed over the years
A market in Eymet, southwestern France. Photo: AFP

Foreigners in France explain how life has changed over the years.

London calling for Calais youths, but only a chosen few
Photo: AFP

Dozens of Calais minors are still hanging their hopes on help from the UK, but not all will be so lucky.

17 different ways to talk about sex in French
Photo: Helga Weber/Flickr

Fancy a quick run with the one-legged man?

Yikes! This is what a rat-infested French jail looks like
Photo: YouTube/France Bleu TV.

This video is not for sufferers of ratophobia (or musophobia as the condition is officially called).

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
Twelve French insults we'd love to have in English
What's on in France: Ten of the best events in October
jobs available