UN gives West African states 45 days for military action on Mali



Geneva: The UN Security Council has unanimously adopted a resolution to give West African countries and the African regional bodies 45 days to offer a "detailed and actionable" military plan to help Malian troops to drive Islamic militants out of the northern part of the West African country.

The military plan should be a product of "close consultations" by the United Nations, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union with Mali and its neighboring countries, "countries of the region and all other interested bilateral partners and international organizations," the resolution said.

The Security Council "further requests the (UN) secretary- general, in close consultations with the above-mentioned partners, to submit, no later than 45 days after the adoption of this resolution, ...detailed and actionable recommendations to respond to the request of the Transitional authorities of Mali regarding an international military force, including means and modalities of the envisaged deployment, in particular the concept of operations, force generation capabilities strength and support financial costs, " the resolution said.

The resolution reiterated the 15-nation Security Council's’ grave concern about the continuing deterioration of the security and humanitarian situation in the north of Mali, the increasing entrenchment of terrorist elements including al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), affiliated groups and other extremist groups, and its consequences for the countries of the Sahel and beyond."

The Security Council also expressed "serious concerns about criminal groups activities in the north of Mali" and recognized " the urgent need for enhanced cooperation and coordination between the Malian authorities, neighboring countries, regional and international organizations as well as bilateral partners, in order to tackle transitional organized crime, including illicit activities such as drug trafficking," the resolution said.

The Security Council stressed "the primary responsibility of the Malian authorities for ensuring the security and unity in its territory and protecting its civilians with respect for international humanitarian law, the rule of law and human rights," the resolution said.

"Any sustainable solution to the crisis in Mali should be Malian-led," the resolution said.

The rebels seized the northern part of Mali in the aftermath of the March 22 coup in the West African country.

The Security Council "urges the Transitional authorities of Mali, the Malian rebel groups and legitimate representatives of the local population in the north of Mali, to engage, as soon as possible, in a credible negotiation process in order to seek a sustainable political solution," the resolution said.

The Security Council also "calls upon Malian rebel groups to cut off all ties to terrorist organizations, notably AQIM and affiliated groups," the resolution said.

ANI