Mali's Foreign Minister Tieman Coulibaly, supported by the African Union and Ecowas, has again made a strong appeal to the UN Security Council to authorise the deployment of an Africa-led International Support Mission in Mali. The Council is currently considering a report by the UN Secretary General on the risks of military intervention in Mali.
While urging Council to approve the force, the report raises serious concerns about sustainability and funding of any military deployment to recapture the country's North.
It's a matter of urgency - but the UN remains cautious about giving the green light for any UN backed military force.
UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman says: “There are however remaining questions about how the international and Malian forces would be led, sustained, trained, equipped and financed. Moreover, the division of tasks between the forces command and control, civilian oversight over the Malian forces and timelines are issues that still need to be addressed.”
Mali's request for an intervention force has been with the Council since September
The SG's report also criticises the lack of detail in the AU/Ecowas strategic plans presented to him, raising concerns military intervention could risk ruining a negotiated political solution.
“Despite concerted international efforts, the political landscape in Mali remains complex and fragmented. It is critical that they key political actors arrive as soon as possible at a unified vision if they are to effectively focus efforts on the main transition challenges, in particular national dialogue and negotiations with armed groups,” says Feltman.
Mali's request for an intervention force has been with the Council since September.
The UN has made it clear it has limited capacity to provide funding to a combat force for Mali and has suggested that operations be funded directly by UN member states.
In addition, France has indicated it is ready to circulate a draft resolution authorising the deployment - hinting it could be authorised before December 25.