by Staff Writers
Abidjan (AFP) Dec 27, 2012
Mali's new Prime Minister Diango Cissoko called Thursday for military intervention by an African force to help take back the Islamist-controlled north "as quickly as possible".
"We have confidence in this intervention," Cissoko told journalists in Abidjan after meeting with Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara, the current head of the West African bloc ECOWAS which is preparing the intervention force.
This operation "will take place as soon as conditions are met and we are doing all so those conditions are met as quickly as possible," he said.
The UN Security Council on December 20 approved the deployment of an international force in Mali, but in stages and without a precise timetable. It also insisted on the need for dialogue with the armed groups in the north which reject terrorism and the partition of the country.
Armed Islamist groups, some with Al-Qaeda links, seized northern Mali in the wake of a March coup in Bamako, and have imposed a brutal form of Islamic sharia law.
An interim government has taken over in Bamako and Cissoko said "credible" elections would be held when conditions allow.
UN chief Ban Ki-moon recently pressed Mali's government to hold free elections as soon as possible as part of preparations for the intervention force.
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