Security Council vote soon on Mali force

France and its African allies want a heavily-armed force able to counter any resurgent Islamist threat in Mali as part of a United Nations peacekeeping mission, diplomats said.

The United Nations is considering setting up a 10,000-strong force in the former French colony before presidential and legislative elections in July, a deadline a European diplomat described on Tuesday as “a race against time”.

UN deputy peacekeeping chief Edmond Mulet is in the Malian capital Bamako this week to assess options for a peacekeeping mission once a French-led military intervention is completed.

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