Παρασκευή, 29 Μαρτίου 2013

Hollande Revises Schedule for Withdrawal From Mali, Says Objectives Achieved


French President Francois Hollande has said that
only 1,000 French troops will remain in Mali by the end of the
year. Roughly 4,000 French troops entered Mali in January at the
invitation of the Malian government to expel Islamic militants that
had taken over much of northern Mali.


Throughout the French-led intervention in Mali French officials
have
revised
their schedule for withdrawal. The French government is
keen for African forces in Mali to begin taking on more missions.
United Nations Secretary General
Ban Ki-moon
recently said that he would like the African forces
to form a peacekeeping force and for another force to be put
together that would be engaged in fighting Islamic militants.
Hollande said that the remaining French troops would
probably
be part of the peacekeeping force.


While the French-led intervention has pushed Islamic militants
out of most of their strongholds the political situation in Mali
remains tenuous.


The Tuareg group the National Movement for the Liberation of the
Azawad (NMLA), which originally fought with Islamist fighters
against the Malian government,
appointed
its own governor for the Kidal region this week.
Malian soldiers, who have been accused of abuses against
Tuaregs
 and Arabs, have not been welcomed in some of
the areas previously controlled by Islamic militants.


Hollande has said that he wants the Malian election to be held
in July, though the French will not be backing any particular
candidate. However, the political instability in parts of the
country shows that although the Islamic militants may be gone the
political situation is not stable. From
UPI
:



French and Malian forces have since liberated key northern
cities like Timbuktu and Gao.


However, local militia member Moussa Boureima Yoro told France
24 there's no formal political presence in Gao.


"How can they ask us to go and vote? For who? And what for? It's
clear we represent nothing in Malian politics," he said. "So we,
alone, need to make our own destiny and transform this town."


The French report notes Gao in February became the first city in
Mali to experience a suicide bombing. Residents told the newspaper
they haven't seen a politician from the capital since the French
intervention.



The worst of the fighting against Islamic militants may well be
over, but the political struggle ahead could very well present
plenty of additional problems for French and Malian
forces. 

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