US backs French operation in Mali, calls for political efforts
Washington: Supporting the French military intervention in Mali, the US has said both security operations and political efforts need to go side-by-side to re-establish democracy in the trouble-torn West-African nation.
"The US is continuing to support international military action in Mali. We support the French goal of denying terrorists a safe haven in the region. We support the French operation," said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.
He also underlined the need for quicker deployment of African-led International Support Mission in Mali, and said the US was working in this regard.
Carney said the US Africa Command will support the French military by conducting aerial refueling missions as operations in Mali continue.
"We are also continuing to share information with the French and have been assisting with the transport of some of their personnel and equipment to Mali," he added.
Carney stressed upon the need for a political road map by the transitional government in Bamako to initiate the dialogue process with groups that reject terrorism and stand for a unified Mali.
He also called for swift implementation of the UNSC Resolution 2085 to restore stability throughout Mali.
Meanwhile, State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland has said that both security and political level efforts are needed hand-in-hand to find a solution to Mali`s problems.
"What we want is a national unity conversation about what is appropriate and security standards so that elections can go forward as soon as possible," she said, noting that a key component of returning stability to Mali includes new elections and overturning the results of the coup firmly.
On French and Malian forces regaining control over Timbuktu, Nuland said the US "awaits confirmation" of these reports.
"We`ve also seen reports that French troops have seized and secured the entrance and the airfield in Gao, and we have unconfirmed reports that the terrorist elements have left Kidal," she said.
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