Europe gets in line behind force in Mali

Nov. 30, 2012 at 9:31 AM

BRUSSELS, Nov. 30 (UPI) -- Members of the European Parliament called on the U.N. Security Council to back an international force to regain control over northern Mali.

Foreign rebel groups and militants associated with al-Qaida seized control of northern Mali this year following a series of political upheavals. Human rights groups have accused rebels of war crimes.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton this week said Washington supports African-led efforts to develop a neutral force to help restore security in Mali.

The European Parliament said claims of independence in northern Mali are "null and void" and atrocities suspected there should be considered war crimes.

"The U.N. Security Council should act as soon as possible on the call by the Malian transitional authorities for an international force to help regain control over northern Mali," the assembly said in a statement. "The European Union and the United Nations should give active support to the efforts by Economic Community of West African States to restore peace."

ECOWAS last week submitted its regional deployment plans to the U.N. Security Council. Former colonial power France had said it would provide logistical and training support for the African mission.

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