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France prepares for military intervention in Mali

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French Defense Ministe, Jean-Yves Le Drian

French Defense Minister says an African intervention in its former colony Mali is a matter of weeks, not months following Paris’ persistent lobbying for the initiative.

“It’s a matter of weeks, not months, weeks,” Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a televised interview on Tuesday.

Le Drian reiterated that his country would only give “logistical aid” and help in planning and that no French troopers will be deployed in Mali.

He made the remarks following a UN Security Council resolution giving West African nations 45 days to offer details of a plan for a military intervention in Mali.

The council expressed “grave concern about the continuing deterioration of the security and humanitarian situation in the north of Mali, the increasing entrenchment of terrorist elements including al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, affiliated groups and other extremist groups, and its consequences for the countries of the Sahel and beyond.”

The French-drafted resolution urges Malian authorities, representatives of Tuareg rebels, and extremist militants to engage in a credible negotiation process.

Once a detailed plan for military intervention in Mali is received from the West African regional body ECOWAS (The Economic Community Of West African States), the African Union and the United Nations, the Security Council would consider a second resolution to approve the move.

Mali plunged into chaos after the country’s democratically-elected government was ousted in a March coup. Tuareg rebels initially took control of two-thirds of the country.

The militants took advantage of the power vacuum created by the coup to seize the northern parts of the country.


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