Bid for UN vote on Mali sanctions gains momentum


UNITED NATIONS, United States: A bid for a UN Security Council vote early next week on a French-sponsored resolution that would set up a sanctions regime for Mali gained momentum Friday (Saturday in Manila) despite resistance from some countries, diplomats said. Russia and Ethiopia have voiced reservations over the proposal but the diplomats said negotiations on holding a vote on Tuesday have accelerated. Mali’s government and coalitions of armed groups signed a peace deal in June 2015 to end years of fighting in the north that culminated with a takeover of the territory by jihadists in 2012. A French-led military intervention in January 2013 drove out the Islamists, but insurgents remain active, moving to the center where attacks and trafficking of drugs and weapons are on the rise. France last month circulated a draft resolution to the UN Security Council on establishing a committee tasked with setting up the UN blacklist as fears grow that the West African country is sliding back into turmoil. The move is backed by Mali’s government, which told the council in a letter in early August that repeated violations of a ceasefire since the beginning of June were threatening to derail the peace deal.



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