BRUSSELS, Feb. 6 (UPI) -- Success in Mali is defined not only by the success of military intervention but also by political progress, said U.N. Undersecretary-General Jeffrey Feltman.
Feltman, speaking to representatives of the African Union and Economic of West African States, said the campaign in Mali needs a dual-track approach.
"Ultimately, the success of our support to the Malian people will depend on the effective combination of our political and security efforts," he said in a statement.
French forces are wrapping up their mission after nearly a month of engagement. Mali asked for support from its former colonial power to help stop foreign and al-Qaida militants advancing from northern Mali.
Life in Timbuktu is said to be returning to normal as French forces help secure more northern areas. Rights groups, however, expressed concern that Malian and rebel fighters may have broken the law during the campaign.
Feltman said that, with parts of the north freed, it's time to push for political developments in a country shaken by coups.
"It provides the basis for an inclusive dialogue toward national cohesion and reconciliation and I look forward to its implementation," he said. "The Malian authorities should also continue to make visible progress in the preparations for free, fair and transparent elections as soon as possible."