April eyed for UN peacekeeping force in Mali

A map of Mali is seen at the French military base camp at Timbuktu's airport. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
A map of Mali is seen at the French military base camp at Timbuktu's airport. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
France wants the African-led military mission in Mali to be replaced with a United Nations peacekeeping mandate by April, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius says.

"From the moment that security is assured, we can envisage without changing the structures that it can be placed under the framework of U.N. peacekeeping operations," Fabius told reporters.

Asked if the aim was to have this done by April, he said: "Yes. Our experts and those we are working with are aiming for that."

According to diplomats at the United Nations, the Security Council is looking at adopting a resolution at the end of February or early March to replace the current African mission under the United Nations.

It would then take 45-60 days to "rehat" them as U.N. forces, which would involve a reduction of their number, the diplomats said.

"On the one hand its an advantage because it's under the United Nations and the financing of the United Nations, but that doesn't mean that there is a modification of the organisation, but just that it will be under the umbrella of the U.N," Fabius said.

 

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