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Mali needs sustainable development for sustainable peace

UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 27 (UPI) -- There is no chance for a sustainable peace in Mali without some plan for sustainable development, members of the U.N. Security Council were told.

Mali in January 2013 called for military support from former colonial power France to help fight al-Qaida and other rebels who seized territory in the north of the country following coups the previous year.

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Gerard Araud, the French envoy to the Security Council, briefed member states on Malian developments following his January tour of the country.

In a briefing on his report, the Security Council said armed groups still operating in Mali need to lay down their weapons in accordance with various peace provisions.

"Moving forward, it was clear there would be no sustainable peace in Mali without a specific focus on development, he said, emphasizing that youth must be prevented from falling prey to terrorist or drug trafficking organizations," the brief stated Wednesday.

Members of the United Nations last month said there were signs extremist groups were regrouping in parts of northern Mali.

The International Committee of the Red Cross this month "lost contact" with one of its vehicles traveling through northern Mali. Four ICRC staff members and a veterinary assistant were on board. There's been no status update from the ICRC since its Feb. 10 announcement.

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