Mali urges UN to support anti-jihadist force for the Sahel

Mali’s foreign minister on Friday pressed the UN Security Council to quickly adopt a resolution endorsing the creation of a special force to fight the jihadists increasingly plaguing north Africa’s Sahel region.
The minister, Abdoulaye Diop, expressed the “deep concern” of Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, who heads a five-nation regional grouping known as the G5 Sahel, over the “difficulties” slowing approval of the resolution.
He urged members to adopt it “without delay”.
The G5 -comprised by Mali, Niger, Chad, Mauritania and Burkina Faso – agreed in March to form a 5 000-strong anti-jihadist force, but sought Security Council authorization before activating it. The force would collaborate with the UN peacekeeping force in Mali known as MINUSMA.
Keita said adoption of the resolution would “send a strong and unequivocal signal from the international community to terrorist groups and traffickers of all types.”
But a French-introduced resolution to provide political and financial support to such a force has been resisted by the United States, which says the resolution is too vague and believes a simple statement, rather than a resolution, would suffice.
As the leading financial contributor to UN peacekeeping operations, Washington also wants to tighten overall spending.
Diop, the Malian minister, also urged the UN to provide “adequate” material, staffing and financing for MINUSMA.

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