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Denmark supports French military operation in Northern Mali

13.01.2013  19:06
The latest military offensive carried out by rebel groups in Northern Mali has resulted in an escalation of the situation in Mali and has led France to carry out a military operation.

“I am very concerned about the situation in Mali. In light of the risk of a further escalation, I fully support France’s attempt to secure stability in the region within the framework of the UN Security Council resolution 2085”, states Danish Foreign Minister Villy Søvndal and adds:
“The French operation should primarily be seen in light of the need to protect the civilian population as well as a wish to prevent terrorist organizations from taking over control of this fragile state. I have had concerns regarding the unstable situation in Mali for some time now and the latest military offensive in Northern Mali unfortunately increases the risk of a further destabilization – not just in Mali, but in the wider Sahel Region. I condemn in the strongest terms the military attacks on the Malian Forces. I urge the transitional government of Mali to put forward a road map for a full restoration of the country’s constitutional framework. Negotiations are still an option but naturally only with the groups that are ready to accept the national unity of Mali and that have severed all ties with terrorist groups.”
The Danish government has allocated 125 million Danish Kroner over the coming five years to a new Danish Sahel Initiative with the aim of strengthening conflict resolution and stabilization initiatives in the Sahel region. This will be carried out through an active Danish conflict prevention engagement in Mali and through activities in the fields of anti-radicalization and security sectors reforms. As part of the new Danish Sahel Initiative, the Danish Foreign Minister will be meeting with prominent civil society representatives from Northern Mali later this month to discuss possible solutions based on negotiations. In light of the latest developments, Denmark will look into other possible contributions to the international society’s handling of the current situation.
After several months of relative standstill, rebel groups in Northern Mali initiated a military offensive on 10 January and took over the city of Konna which is located around 50 kilometers north of the strategically important city of Mopti. On the same day, the UN Security Council convened a crisis meeting on the situation. The Security Council expressed its backing to countries that could support Mali and the Malian Defense and Security Forces in this critical situation. Upon request by the Malian president, France on 11 January decided to intervene militarily in support of the Malian army.