Armed men patrol the streets of a city in northern Mali. (File photo)
France has called on the UN to swiftly implement a resolution, which allows for the deployment of an international force to Mali amid clashes in the West African nation.
In a letter to the world body, France’s Ambassador to the UN, Gerard Araud announced that Paris provided support for Bamako to fight the rebels in response to a request for help from Mali’s interim president Dioncounda Traore.
The move came as on Friday French President Francois Hollande said that the rebels try to “deliver a fatal blow to the very existence of this country (Mali). We will be ready to stop the…offensive…We will do it strictly within the framework of the United Nations Security Council resolution.”
He added that French forces had arrived in the Malian capital hours earlier.
The French president further highlighted that France’s military intervention in Mali would continue for “as long as is necessary.”
On the same day, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said that the rebels are “profiting from the delay between the taking of international decisions and their application,” adding that armed groups had “moved south, their goal being to gain control of all of Mali.”
France has taken military action to prevent the rebels from making more gains and “it consists essentially of blocking” their advance, Fabius stated.
The letter to the UN urged rapid implementation of a Security Council resolution that approves an African-led intervention force in Mali.
Also on Friday, a Malian Defense Ministry official announced that the Malian Army succeeded in retaking the town of Konna, which was captured by militants on Thursday.
The Malian troops drove back the militants from Konna, which is located in the center of the country, after France intervened with airstrikes to halt advances by the rebels.
Malian officials say Nigeria and Senegal have sent ground forces to support the government forces in the conflict.
Chaos broke out in the West African country after Malian President Amadou Toumani Toure was toppled in a military coup on March 22, 2012. The coup leaders said they mounted the coup in response to the government’s inability to contain the Tuareg rebellion in the north of the country, which had been going on for two months.