North Atlantic Treaty Organisation Denies It has Received a Request From the African Union for a Possible Intervention in Mali
The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) has denied that it had received a request from the African Union for a possible intervention in Mali where Islamists are still in control of half of the country.
A Nato official who demanded anonymity was Wednesday quoted saying that the organization was not asked for military help to deal with the conflict in the landlocked West African country.
The Nato official was quoted in several international news media indicating that “no request or discussion on a possible role for Nato in Mali has been made”.
The official said although Nato was not involved in the crisis, it was noting with grave concern its security implication for the rest of the West African sub-region and beyond.
The Nato official’s remark was in response to a statement made by African Union chairman, Benin’s President Thomas Boni Yayi asking the organization to intervene militarily to help resolve the conflict between the government in Bamako and rebel Islamists occupying the north where they have desecrated shrines and imposed Sharia law.
President Yayi had likened the crisis in Mali to an “international problem in the same level with that of Afghanistan.
In December the UN had consented to the sending of a 3,000 strong African intervention force to but indicated that they did not expect its deployment before September.
Since March last year, the country has been divided when Tuareg rebels seeking an independent homeland and Islamist fighters of Ansar Dine seized cities in the north and east of the country including Gao, Kidal and Timbuktu.
Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore who is charged with mediating a peaceful outcome to the crisis has said he was optimistic of an agreement.
Meanwhile talks scheduled for Thursday between the government and two of the armed groups has been called off to give more time for all sides to prepare.
Future agreements will look to end hostilities, guarantee human rights and fundamental freedoms.
The groups involved in the talks are the Al-Qaeda-backed Ansar Dine, the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) and Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.
Source African Press Agency
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