UN deputy chief says situation in Mali is unacceptable

UN deputy chief says situation in Mali is unacceptable
# 20 October 2012 04:32 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA. UN Deputy Secretary- General Jan Eliasson on Friday called the current situation in Mali "unacceptable," a UN spokesman told reporters here, APA reports quoting Xinhua.

"In Bamako on Friday, the deputy secretary-general spoke at the meeting of the Support and Follow-up Group on Mali, and he said that, for many reasons, the situation in that country is unacceptable," said Martin Nesirky, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon’s spokesperson, at the daily briefing.

"He said that some 4.6 million people are at risk of food insecurity, while 560,000 children below the age of five are threatened with grave malnutrition," said Nesirky.

The Group on Mali is composed of leaders of the African Union ( AU), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the UN, and the meeting, held in the West African country’s capital, comes just days after the Security Council approved a resolution that gives the UN 45 days to develop a plan to recover occupied territory.

According to the spokesperson, the UN deputy chief said in his speech that "we must help the Malian authorities design and implement a credible political process that addresses the underlying causes of the crisis," as well as "plan and execute the military operations which may ultimately be required to return the areas occupied by terrorist groups and criminal networks."

Nesirky quoted Eliasson as saying that "we must ensure that military action does not exacerbate existing tensions or worsen an already fragile humanitarian situation."

The spokesman said the matter was one of regional cooperation to be solved by the AU, ECOWAS and the UN.

"The most important thing is that key players are meeting in Mali today to look at not only the planning for potential military operations but also at the political track," Nesirky added.

Currently led by Interim President Dioncounda Traore, Mali has been dealing with a range of security, political and humanitarian problems since the start of the year. Fighting between Government forces and Tuareg rebels broke out in the country’s north in January. Since then, radical Islamists have seized control of the north, where they have imposed an extremist version of Muslim Sharia law as well as restrictions that target women in particular.

According to UN statistics, the instability and insecurity resulting from the renewed clashes, as well as the proliferation of armed groups in the region, drought and political instability in the wake of a military coup d’etat in March, have led over 250, 000 Malians to flee to neighboring countries, with 174,000 Malians estimated to be internally displaced.
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