Political Affairs chief says political action and reconciliation crucial to stabilizing Mali

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Jeffrey Feltman, head of the UN Department of Political Affairs

The international community is coming together on a unified approach to the crisis in Mali, the head of the UN Department of Political Affairs told reporters in New York on Friday.

Jeffrey Feltman said although the security situation in the north of the country remains precarious, a new phase in its stabilization is taking place.

There have been talks that UN peacekeepers could be replacing African-led forces in Mali, where a military coup last year and rebel occupation in the north have displaced thousands of civilians.

Feltman emphasized the importance of the UN and its partners remaining sensitive to the views and concerns of the Malian people and the country's authorities.

"And the second point I want to make is the importance of having a strong emphasis on the political track in Mali. Everyone agrees rhetorically that the political track and the military track need to go together; they need to be mutually reinforcing, but we have to follow up our rhetorical commitment with actual action on the political side. No matter how crucial—and, indeed, welcome—the military actions are after all, stabilizing Mali in the true sense of the word is going to require more than simply the military intervention. There's a need for real reconciliation between the various political actors in Mali. The roots of the current crisis, after all, are political." (49 secs)

The Political Affairs chief said a UN office that's already in the capital, Bamako, is making the organization's expertise in areas such as political dialogue and security sector reform available to the country.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1’46″

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