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UN Considering a Peacekeeping Force in Mali

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By William Tucker

As the French led intervention force in Mali advanced on militant positions in the north of the African country, politicians in Paris were looking for a way to draw down forces and allow for Bamako to reclaim it’s territory. Though the French weren’t alone in the intervention, there is a desire for a peacekeeping force to replace the small coalition that has been in the fight against the militants. The suggested caveat to this force is that is should be one that can execute offensive missions, as opposed to a mission confined to observer status. In many cases, UN peacekeepers can only return fire once fired upon, but a rapid-reaction force, as proposed by France and several African nations, would allow for the member nations involved to continue to engage the militants as the situation warrants. Edmond Mulet, the UN deputy peacekeeping chief, is currently in Bamako exploring options for a future peacekeeping force, but there is a strong desire to get something in place before Mali’s July elections. With France wanting to begin its drawdown in April, this will put a lot of stress on the diplomats to cobble together a solution that is palatable to the UNSC. The timeframe for this political action is short and will bear watching over the next few weeks.

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