Kremlin appears to query French action in Mali

Kremlin appears to query French action in Mali
# 12 January 2013 18:21 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. Russia's envoy to Africa seemed to question French military involvement in former colony Mali Saturday, saying the United Nations or the African Union should lead operations against Islamist insurgents, APA reports quoting Xinhua.

"I believe that any military operation in Africa can and should be flying the flags of the UN and the African Union," Federation Council member Mikhail Margelov told the RIA Novosti news agency.

"Nobody but the Africans can and should be solving the continent's problems," he said.

France earlier this week deployed forces to aid Mali's government, whose army has been retreating in the face of attacks by armed groups suspected of having ties with al-Qaida.

Government and French forces recaptured the strategic town of Konna in the country's central region Friday, the BBC reported.

The French involvement was endorsed Friday by the West Africa regional bloc ECOWAS, which comprises 15 countries, including Mali.

The bloc said Saturday it would soon carry out a UN Security Council resolution from December and deploy its armed peacekeepers to Mali.

Mali has been in turmoil since a military coup last March.