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Mali leaders welcome UN backing for intervention force

Reuters/Adama Diarra

Mali’s interim leaders have welcomed the French-sponsored UN Security Council endorsement of an African-led military force in the north of Mali, now under the control of Islamist fighters.

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“We are grateful to the international community, a consensus has been reached on the Mali situation,” commented an adviser to interim President Dioncounda Traoré, pledging to “make war on the terrorists and continue to negotiate with our brothers who are ready for dialogue”.

And Mustapha Cissé, the leader of the of the Front for Democracy and the Republic (FDR) which was formed after March’s coup d’état, called the decision “excellent news”.

But another politician who backed the coup, Oumar Coulibaly, repeated his opposition to foreign forces coming to the country.

The Security Council resolution agreed that a force should be sent to Mali but not before September 2013.

It calls for negotiation with armed groups that condemn “terrorism” and accept that the country should remain unified.

The African force will first of all train Malian troops and progress will be monitored by the African Union every 60 days.

The Security Council should be satisfied that the force is sufficiently well trained and armed and prepared for the terrain on which it will intervene before it is mobilised, the resolution stipulates.

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