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UNSC Voices Concern Over Deteriorating Situation In Northern Mali
238 days ago
(RTTNews) - The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on Friday reiterated its grave concern about the continuing deterioration of the security and humanitarian situation in northern Mali, and urged rebel groups there to cut-off all ties to terrorist elements, including Al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb and affiliated groups.
In a press statement read by Ambassador Peter Wittig of Germany, which holds the Council's rotating presidency for this month, the 15-member body expressed concern over the "increasing entrenchment" of terrorist elements in the country as well as the human rights violations perpetrated by rebel and extremist groups in the north.
Following a briefing by Jeffrey Feltman, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, on the situation in Mali, the Council welcomed the appointment of a government of National Unity in the north African nation, and pledged continued support to Interim President, Dioncounda Traore.
The Council called on the transitional authorities in Mali "to continue ongoing efforts towards the strengthening of democratic institutions and the restoration of constitutional order" in the country by holding elections at the end of the transition. The Council also reiterated its demand that all members of Malian armed forces cease immediately any interference in the work of the transitional authorities.
In his briefing, Feltman had urged the Council and the international community to support efforts to develop an integrated strategy to tackle the challenges in the Sahel region of West Africa, which are not only political but also involve security, humanitarian resilience and human rights.
Earlier this week, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, had condemned the ongoing human rights violations in northern Mali, including cruel punishments such as amputations and the stoning to death of an unmarried couple, and called on the country's government and the international community to urgently address the crisis.
Mali had witnessed a coup in March, triggered by dissatisfaction among a large section of the military over the government's failure to address demands for better supplies and arms to tackle the Tuareg uprising in the North. The coup leaders later agreed to return power to a civilian interim government led by President Dioncounda Traore, following a deal with ECOWAS in exchange for lifting sanctions against the military junta.
Nevertheless, Mali's Tuareg rebels, backed by al-Qaeda-linked Ansar Dine Islamist militants trying to impose Islamic law across the whole of the West African State, captured a large portion of northern Mali late March and declared independence. However, most of the international community rejected the rebel independence declaration, and urged all sides involved to engage in talks to resolve the issue. It is estimated that the conflict has forced more than 320,000 people to flee northern Mali.
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