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Mali - Situation in Sahel (October 9, 2012)

Q : Just now you brought up the issue of the Sahel which will be discussed at the French-Spanish summit. This topic was discussed between Mr. Hollande and Ban Ki-moon; do you have any details regarding the timetable? France says that it wants a military operation. Can you give us a timeframe and the operational details?

A : Since September 26 and the request made by the Malian authorities to the UN, we have indeed made some progress. We have a two-stage arrangement in mind, with the swift adoption of an initial draft resolution consisting primarily of 3 provisions.

The first provision appeals for political dialogue, the second relates to the request issued to the Malian authorities, in cooperation with those of ECOWAS and the African Union, to define their needs; this is what we call the concept of operations. The third provision calls on all organizations – I’m notably thinking of the EU since it indicated its readiness to do so – to support the deployment of this force. This is the first stage which is already well under way and which could result quite quickly in the adoption of a first resolution.

There will then be the adoption of a second resolution authorizing the deployment of the force. I want to remind you, since it’s important, that this is an African force, and that therefore the Africans - and primarily the Malians - are responsible for the planning and force generation, in coordination with the African countries. Once we have a clear definition of the requirements, France - and others we hope - will identify exactly what can be done to help this force re-establish Mali’s territorial integrity and eradicate AQIM from northern Mali.

That’s the main thrust. Those are the next steps.

I want to add that there’s no specific deadline with respect to the force’s deployment since that will depend on the time it takes for the Malian authorities to respond to the request that will be issued to them in accordance with the first resolution to generate forces and define their requirements.



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