PARIS, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) -- French President Francois Hollande said Friday France will respond to Mali's request for military assistance to counter rebel groups' offensive, but within the framework of a UN Security Council resolution.
"I have decided that France will respond, together with our African partners, to the request from Malian authorities. We will do it strictly within the framework of a UN Security Council resolution," the French head of state said while addressing the New Year message to diplomats in Paris.
"We are faced with a blatant aggression that is threatening Mali's very existence. France can not accept this," said Hollande, noting that France will be "ready to stop the terrorists' offensive if it continues."
Hollande's remarks came after Malian President Dioncounda Traore made a request, in a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and a letter to Hollande, seeking for military aid from France countering the military movements and attacks by extremist groups.
The rebel groups had controlled the northern half of the country and are heading south. They have captured the city of Konna, a central town of 50,000 people some 700 km northeast of capital Bamako.
The rebel groups' fast movement toward Bamako has caused UN grave concern about the military movements of rebel groups along the frontline in northern Mali.
The Security Council met on Thursday, calling on member states to "assist the settlement of the crisis and, in particular, to provide assistance to the Malian Defense and Security Forces in order to reduce the threat posed by terrorist organizations and associated groups."
The UN Security Council agreed last month to authorize the African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA), with 3,300 soldiers deployed, to support the African country in its fight against armed rebel groups.
France had earlier expected a possible military intervention to quash Islamist militants in northern Mali but refused to send French combat forces to the conflict-torn African country. However, it had promised to provide technical support to African troops to retake northern Malian region from Islamist insurgents.
BAMAKO, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations will have to take extraordinary decisions on Mali, given the prevailing security crisis in the West African country, according to UN special envoy Romano Prodi.
Prodi, the special representative of the UN secretary general to Africa's Sahel region, made the comments on Thursday during a visit to Mali. Full story
UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) -- The UN Security Council is gravely concerned about the military movements of rebel groups along the frontline in northern Mali, said a statement released here after a consultation on Thursday night.
Members of the 15-nation body expressed their "grave concern" over the reported military movements and attacks by terrorist and extremist groups, in particular their capture of the city of Konna, a central town of 50,000 people some 700 km northeast of capital Bamako, the statement said. Full story
ABUJA, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) -- France on Thursday solicited the cooperation of Nigeria in ending the lingering crisis in Mali, Jean Palanon, France Special Envoy to Nigeria, has said. Palanon disclosed the information to reporters after a meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja, the West African country capital city, adding that Nigeria's assistance was crucial to ending the crisis in Mali.
The adoption of resolution 20/85 at the Security Council opened a new face in handling of the Mali crisis, he added. Full story