facebook
twitter
search
search

Dialogue first in Mali, U.N. leader says

Dec. 6, 2012 at 1:27 PM

UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 6 (UPI) -- An inclusive national dialogue in Mali should be the first step in resolving a crisis simmering there since early 2012, a top U.N. official said.

Members of the Economic Community of West African States are formulating plans to send a neutral force into Mali. The country was divided when rebels and al-Qaida groups seized control over the north following political upheaval in early 2012.

Northern rebels are suspected of committing human rights crimes, have razed protected heritage sites and were criticized for their strict enforcement of Islamic law.

Jeffrey Feltman, undersecretary-general for political affairs at the United Nations, said after a U.N. Security Council briefing that "a first step" would be ensuring authorities in Mali have an inclusive dialogue with the goal of restoring order and territorial integrity.

"A well-conceived and executed military intervention in the north should be conducted as a last resort in the north to address terrorist and criminal elements and planning should be undertaken for stabilization activities in recovered areas," he said.

Amanda Dory, a U.S. deputy defense secretary for African affairs, testified before Senate leaders on the crisis in Mali. She expressed concern that al-Qaida affiliates in North Africa were using the security vacuum to set up operational basis. Any military effort there, however, must be an African-led process, she said.

Like Us on Facebook for more stories from UPI.com  
Related UPI Stories
Latest Headlines
Top Stories
Greek referendum: 'No' vote leads early results, opinion polls
Russian resupply spacecraft docks onto ISS to deliver needed provisions
Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa targeted heavily in airstrikes
Prison escapee David Sweat returned to maximum security prison
Maine reports first fireworks fatality since 2012 legalization