UN supports French action in Mali, says Ambassador

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French Ambassador Gérard Araud

African forces will be deployed to Mali within the coming weeks, French ambassador Gérard Araud told journalists in New York on Monday.

Speaking following Security Council consultations on the West African country, he said the Nigerian General heading the force is already in the capital, Bamako.

Over the past few days France has launched air strikes on northern Mali, which is under the control of Islamist extremists.

Ambassador Araud said France had requested the Security Council meeting because it wants to act in what he referred to as "total transparency with the United Nations."

"I can say that I have felt that all the members of the Security Council were expressing their support and their understanding of the French decision. And I think you have read the statement by the Secretary-General. The Secretary-General himself who had a long conversation yesterday with Mr. Fabius had also expressed the same support."

In a statement on Monday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he had separate telephone briefings over the weekend from French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara, chair of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Mr. Ban said he welcomed international response to Mali's request for assistance to counter what he called "the troubling push southward by armed and terrorist groups."

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1’28″

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