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UN Set to Pass Mali Resolution

by VOA News October 12, 2012

The U.N. Security Council is expected to pass a resolution Friday clearing the way for deployment of foreign troops to the troubled nation of Mali.

The French mission to the U.N. put out a Twitter message saying the council will adopt the resolution Friday afternoon Eastern Time.

Mali's interim government has requested forces to help drive out Islamist militant groups that took control of northern Mali earlier this year, after a coup in Bamako.

The resolution asks U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to provide military and security planners to help West African bloc ECOWAS and the African Union organize the proposed force.

It asks Ban to provide a detailed report within 45 days on how the force would be created, financed and deployed. The council would then have to approve the plan in a second resolution.

Friday's resolution renews U.N. demands that Malian militants cut ties to al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb and for all groups to cease human rights abuses.

The militants have held public executions, amputations and floggings in an effort to enforce their strict version of Islamic law.

This week, a U.N. human rights official said the groups are also enlisting children as soldiers and pushing women into prostitution under the guise of forced marriages.

ECOWAS has offered to send a force of about 3,000 soldiers to stabilize Mali, rebuild the country's shattered army and help drive the militants from the north.

In comments last week, France's envoy to the U.N., Gerard Araud, said the Security Council wants details on the force's composition and objectives. Araud said the council hopes to authorize deployment of the soldiers as soon as possible but will not give the force "carte blanche."

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