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US Pledges to Help Mali With Long-Term Stability

February 14, 2013

The top U.S. diplomat for Africa says any military success in Mali will be "fleeting" without a democratic government that responds to the needs of all Malians.

Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson said Thursday the U.S. is prepared to assist with rebuilding Mali's long-term stability.

"We will continue to work to ensure that military success can be translated into long-term political stability by encouraging expedited elections, marginalizing the military junta, holding accountable all perpetrators of human rights abuses and violations, including those who are in the Malian army, and supporting a national reconciliation process that addresses the longstanding and legitimate grievances of northern populations, including those of the Tuareg," he said.

Carson, who was addressing the U.S. House of Representatives' Foreign Affairs Committee, also updated lawmakers on the U.S. support mission in Mali.

He said that as of Wednesday, the U.S. had carried out 22 refueling missions to support French forces fighting Islamist militants. He also said the U.S. Air Force had flown 43 C-17 sorties to transport French and Chadian personnel, as well as supplies and equipment.

In January, a French-led offensive drove Islamist groups from their strongholds in northern Mali. The militants seized control of the region last year, raising fears the region could become a base for international terrorist and criminal activities.

The Mali crisis began in early 2012 when Tuareg separatist group MNLA launched a rebellion in the north. The MNLA and Islamist militants seized control of the north in April, after the overthrow of the Malian government, but the MNLA soon was swept aside by the militants.

France has begun to wind down its mission as West African troops move into Mali.

Meanwhile, the United Nations is considering plans to assume control of an international peacekeeping force in the country.

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