U.N. weighs peacekeepers for Mali

Feb. 7, 2013 at 10:22 AM

NEW YORK, Feb. 7 (UPI) -- A U.N. peacekeeping mission for Mali is under serious consideration provided there's a specific request from the central government, a U.N. official said.

French forces intervened in Mali at the request of the government in mid-January as foreign and al-Qaida fighters pushed south. The central government lost control over northern Mali to militants an early 2012 coup.

French forces this week said they were wrapping up their mission following the liberation of key parts of northern Mali. Western supporters of the intervention said a dual-track approach that included political reforms was vital for Malian peace.

U.N. Undersecretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Herve Ladsous said there were preparations under way for a peacekeeping mission in Mali.

"As you know for any peacekeeping operation we need the consent, the actual request of the host country," he said in a statement. "So this is all being worked upon."

The U.N. Security Council approved of the use of force to help ensure Malian stability. Members of the African Union and Economic Community of West African States met this week in Brussels to discuss international support for stability operations in the country.

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