LONDON, April 26 (UPI) -- Establishing a U.N. peacekeeping mission in Mali is the logical next step to make in securing the country, British African official Mark Simmonds said.
The U.N. Security Council established the U.N. Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali under a Chapter VII resolution. The force will include 12,600 troops set for deployment by July 1.
Simmonds, undersecretary of state for Africa, said the mission was an appropriate next phase for Mali. The Malian government called for military support from former colonial power France to help tackle militants that seized territory following a 2012 coup.
"The resolution makes clear the importance of reconciliation and dialogue between all parties," he said in a statement. "Ultimately a negotiated political settlement between north and south is the only way to guarantee long-term stability."
Malian residents in the north of the country told the United Nations it would be difficult to make political gains there because of the lack of central authority.
The European Police Office, the European Union's law enforcement agency, warned in a report Thursday that Mali was an "attractive destination" for would-be militants.
"These individuals may pose a threat on their return to the EU," the report said.