- Title: FRANCE-: Niger President calls for military intervention in Mali
- Date: 13th November 2012
- Summary: PARIS, FRANCE (NOVEMBER 13, 2012) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF GRAND HOTEL IN PARIS ECONOMIC CONFERENCE BEING ATTENDED BY MAHAMADOU ISSOUFOU, PRESIDENT OF NIGER ISSOUFOU LISTENING AUDIENCE (SOUNDBITE) (French) NIGER PRESIDENT MAHAMADOU ISSOUFOU, SAYING: "I think that if the international community gets together, if the countries of the ECOWAS fulfil their commitment, if at an international level we manage to organize the needed logistical support, if we manage to reinforce our intelligence capacities, our aerial capacities, and ground capacities, I think that we can do this operation. Of course there is no intervention without risk but we will face the risks of this operation because, as I said, we have two choices: either intervening or intervening. And I consider that the risks of a non intervention are bigger than those of an intervention." AUDIENCE LISTENING ISSOUFOU LISTENING
- Embargoed: 28th November 2012 12:00
- Location: France
- Country: France
- Topics: Conflict,International Relations,Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA6BY4ALS0L4CIMBVU9SW6DOYY6
- Story Text: President of Niger backs call to send troops to Mali, saying benefits far outweigh risks.
The President of Niger on Tuesday (November 13) welcomed plans by African regional bloc ECOWAS to commit 3,000 troops to regain control of northern Mali, saying the risks of intervening in the country far outweighed those of doing nothing.
ECOWAS agreed on Sunday to commit 3,300 troops to help recapture northern Mali, which has been overrun by rebels.
"I think that if the international community gets together, if the countries of the ECOWAS fulfil their commitments, if at an international level we manage to organize the needed logistic support, if we manage to reinforce our intelligence capacities, our aerial capacities, and ground capacities, I think that we can do this operation," he told reporters on the margins of a conference in Paris.
"We have two choices, either intervening or intervening. And I consider that the risks of a non intervention are bigger than those of an intervention," he added.
The troops committed by ECOWAS are expected to mostly come from Nigeria, Niger and Burkina Faso. But other West African countries and two or three non-African states may also contribute forces.
The plan covers a six-month period, with a preparatory phase for training and the establishment of bases in Mali's south, followed by combat operations in the north, some Malian army sources have said. ECOWAS signed off on the latest draft on Sunday but said it still hoped to avoid conflict through negotiations.
The U.N. Security Council gave African leaders 45 days from October 12 to draw up a plan for military intervention to retake the north, but diplomats say any such operation is months away.
Once viewed as an example of progress towards democracy in Africa, Mali fell into chaos after a coup in March that toppled the president and left a power vacuum that was quickly exploited by rebels to take over the north.
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