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U.N. official in Mali urges Security Council to help with peace talks

  |   Jan. 17, 2014 at 2:56 PM
NEW YORK, Jan. 17 (UPI) -- The top U.N. official in Mali has told the Security Council it should build on improvements in Mali and assist with peace talks, a U.N. press release states.

Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Mali Bert Koenders urged the council to sustain the support for the country to steer it in the right direction.

"With the progress achieved over the last six months, the window to proceed to the next level is wide open," Koenders told journalists after meeting with the council.

He noted free presidential and legislative elections were held in 2013, and spoke to President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita's goals, which include stabilizing the economy and fighting corruption.

Koenders urged the United Nations the collaborate with Mali and hold peace talks with extremist groups in the North.

"These efforts must get traction in the weeks to come," Koenders said. "An inclusive peace process is also needed to leave no room for such spoilers."

The mission in Mali was established in April to protect civilians, provide humanitarian aid and carry out security-related tasks.

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