BRUSSELS, July 23 (UPI) -- The European Union said Monday it backed efforts, including possible military action, by an African bloc to find a solution to the crisis in Mali.
Members of the Economic Community of West African States had pressed the U.N. Security Council to pass a resolution authorizing the deployment of regional forces to Mali under a Chapter VII resolution.
Rebels, some of whom are tied to al-Qaida, declared autonomy for the northern part of the country shortly after a military coup early this year. Al-Qaida militants have since destroyed historic sites in Timbuktu that are viewed in conflict with their conservative brand of Islam.
ECOWAS, in a recent statement, called on political and civil leaders in Mali to make proposals to interim President Dioncounda Traore for the formation of a unity government.
In a statement Monday, the European Union declared support for the efforts by ECOWAS to find a way to settle the crisis in Mali, including the "possible deployment of a stabilization force" by the African bloc.
Members of the African Union expressed similar support for the efforts proposed by ECOWAS. The EU said it would contribute to the eventual restructuring of security and defense forces in Mali in coordination with a government of national unity.