`Premature to talk about UN peacekeeping mission in Mali`
United Nations: It is too premature to talk about a UN peacekeeping mission in Mali, where French troops are currently fighting al Qaeda, a senior world body official has said, even as the powerful Security Council was told that the rise in organised crime and terrorism is threatening political stability in the country.
"I think it is premature to talk about a UN peacekeeping role," Deputy UN Secretary General Jan Eliasson said at a press conference in Santiago, Chile, adding that "offensive operations" are going on right now in that country and "that is not an area the United Nations can be involved (in)."
He also said that the role of the United Nations in Mali is not completely clear.
"But I would hope that, once territorial integrity is established for Mali, if there is a need for UN programmes, even a UN presence on the ground, and if the Security Council requires this, ... The United Nations can play a role," Eliasson told reporters in response to a question.
"There was a French intervention when the extremist forces of the North tried to move South. This move has been stopped, and now there is preparation for certain countries in the region to come in and be active in the military operation," he said.
The United Nations is asked to provide a support package, he said. "We are offering that, but it is not yet decided in the Security Council."
Observing that it is a very fluid situation in Mali, he said he understand fully the aspirations of the Mali people to unify their country, and above all to stop the repression and the very widespread violations of human rights that take place in the north of the country.
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