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.
The White House has said that Russia has failed to with the Minsk accord and that they not reacted the way we 'would like to see'
Germany's biggest club vows to provide refugee children with food, German lessons, football equipment
During the Eastern Economic forum, Putin has suggested that a coalition that involves Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan as well as Russia would help combat extremism
2-year-old Aylan Kurdi, family refused immigration by Canada
High Commissioner for Refugees believes EU member states have means to increase relocation opportunities to as many as 200,000 places
British PM promised to fullfil 'moral duty' yet seeks comprehensive solution
Attacks targeted Far North region of country, where Cameroon's army is struggling to contain the overflow of violence from Boko Haram
EU foreign affairs head proposed to defence ministers to discuss capture and destruction of smugglers' vessels
Cluster bombs continue to be used in Libya, Sudan, Syria, Ukraine & Yemen despite global ban, UN report says
Family of a Syrian toddler whose body washed up on a Turkish beach has been trying to emigrate to Canada after fleeing war-torn town of Kobani
NATO reports getting 'mixed' reports from Ukraine, undrescoring that the situation remained 'very fragile'
Recently Russia has detained, jailed a number of foreigners on political motives
Whether China can manage a soft landing after years of explosive economic growth will be at the heart of G20 talks
British actress Emma Thompson says UK has 'plenty' of room for refugees, wants them to be accepted
Contrary to other European nations, the Vienna police chief has said that there are no plans to stop or check arriving refugees
New military doctrine approved by country's National Security Council announces Russia as military adversary