World Bulletin/News Desk
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the Security Council on Friday he wants former Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi to be his envoy to the troubled Sahel region, where West African states seek U.N. backing for military intervention in Mali.
"I would like to inform you of my intention to appoint Mr. Romano Prodi (Italy) as my Special Envoy for the Sahel," Ban said in a letter to the 15-nation council, obtained by Reuters.
"Mr. Prodi has a long and distinguished career in government and international diplomacy as a consensus-builder, having served as Prime Minister of Italy and President of the European Commission for several years," he wrote to the president of the council, Guatemalan U.N. Ambassador Gert Rosenthal.
Rosenthal informed fellow council members in an accompanying letter that he would acknowledge Ban's decision to appoint Prodi if no objections were presented to him by Tuesday at 10 a.m. EDT (1400 GMT).
Mali descended into chaos in March when soldiers toppled the president, leaving a power vacuum that enabled Tuareg rebels to seize two-thirds of the country.
The conflict in Mali has also exacerbated a deteriorating humanitarian and security situation in the turbulent Sahel region - a belt of land spanning nearly a dozen of the world's poorest countries on the southern rim of the Sahara - where millions are on the brink of starvation due to drought.
West Africa's regional body, ECOWAS, has mapped out a three- phase operation to help Malian troops recapture the north, and Mali's interim leader, Dioncounda Traore, asked the Security Council earlier this month to authorize the force.
Council diplomats say ECOWAS needs to present a more coherent and comprehensive plan for military intervention in Mali before they authorize it.
French U.N. Ambassador Gerard Araud said on Thursday that he would shortly circulate a resolution to energize the African response. It would not yet authorize a military intervention by an international force, but would instead set a deadline for ECOWAS and the African Union to provide the Security Council with details of the operation.
ECOWAS has intervened militarily in past African conflicts, including the wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Dominic Ongwen, ex-Lord’s Resistance Army commander, faces 70 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity
The blast happened at a mosque in the staff quarters area of the University of Maiduguri and is thought to have been carried out by a teenage girl, a local resident and a lecturer said
Morales said Guatemala had no contingency plans in case massive deportations did happen. But he stressed the incoming US leader would have to get lawmakers' consent to follow through with his threat.
52 troops had died in fighting since January 1 in and around Benghazi.
UK, Australia declined to sign final statement at Sunday’s Mideast peace conference in Paris
Trump told The Times and Bild newspapers that Brexit would be a "great thing", and on a trade deal said he would "work very hard to get it done quickly and done properly."
Barred from traveling abroad since 2015, Raed Salah faces fresh travel ban in light of impending release from prison
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said on Monday he was sure that Britain and the US could conclude a free trade deal that was in their mutual interests after President-elect Donald Trump said he was keen for one.
Iraqi authorities typically blame such attacks on embattled ISIL extremist group
Irish nationalist party refuses to nominate leader to local parliament, forcing new elections to power-sharing body
Prevalence of slain militants’ bodies in areas recently captured from ISIL raises fears of possible spread of disease
Intervention comes after diplomatic spat over slogan-covered Serbian train which tried to enter Kosovo
An AMISOM truck rammed into a civilian minibus on outskirts of Mogadishu
Israel has also rearrested journalist Mohamed al-Qeeq, who waged 94-day hunger strike in 2015
A professor of veterinary medicine and a teenager among casualties
Kenyans will go to the polls on August 8 in what is set to be a hard-fought general election decided in large part by the core support of candidates' ethnic constituencies.