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Africa

France weighs UN sanctions regime for Mali

media A Malian soldier stands guard at the international conference center of Bamako ahead of France-Africa summit in Bamako, Mali on 12 January, 2017. Reuters/Luc Gnago

France is considering a United Nations Security Council draft resolution that would set up a sanctions regime for Mali to target opponents of the June 2015 peace deal signed between the Malian government and rebels, the ambassador said on Tuesday.

The peace accord was intended to end years of fighting in the north, but its implementation has been piecemeal. Mali regained control of the north after a French-led military intervention in January 2013 drove out jihadists, but insurgents remain active across large parts of the region.

French Ambassador Francois Delattre told reporters on Tuesday that a sanctions regime for Mali was a "very important" measure and that France was eager to discuss it at the council.

"The utmost priority with respect to Mali is to encourage the swift implementation of the peace agreement and to make sure the mission there, MINUSMA, has everything it needs," Delattre said.

In one of his last reports in late December, former UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon called on the council to consider targeted sanctions against those who are impeding the peace deal. "The peace process in Mali is at a critical juncture," Ban wrote. Although there has been some progress, "the signatory parties continue to disagree on key interim measures, thus stalling the process for all other provisions."

The Security Council will meet on Wednesday to discuss the situation in Mali.

The proposed sanctions regime would set up a mechanism to allow individuals and entities to be blacklisted by the United Nations. Targeted sanctions include a global travel ban and an assets freeze.

The United Nations has deployed 13,000 troops in Mali to serve in the MINUSMA force, considered one of the deadliest missions in peacekeeping.

Ban said the force remains ill-equipped and urgently requires helicopter units, armored personnel carriers and armored cars for police among other resources.

Germany last week agreed to send more troops along with four transport helicopters and four combat helicopters.

- with AFP

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