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.
Raissouni hailed the Turkish people for its role in aborting the coup attempt against its democratically-elected government
Authorities said on Saturday there appeared to be no survivors from a hot air balloon crash in Texas
A former deputy of the far-right extreme party in Germany, Werner Klauner is now known as Ibrahim and spends his time and earnings helping refugees
Belgian police have arrested two brothers over a planned terror attack, authorities have confirmed.
'Turkish people announced to the world that they side with democracy,' says Mejlis leader Mustafa Kirimoglu
Bavaria's state premier Horst Seehofer took aim at Angela Merkel's open-door refugee policy on Saturday, rejecting her "we can do this" mantra just two days after she defended the message after attacks in Germany.
Thousands of people have staged a pro-Independence march in Glasgow
In the minutes of meeting in then-defense minister Moshe Dayan’s office, top Israeli officials discussed how to deliberately violate international law in building settlement of Kiryat Arba, next to Hebron.
The CEO of Spain's BBVA, owner of a large stake in local heavyweight Garanti bank, touts its success and interest in Turkey
Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus President Mustafa Akinci meets Greek counterpart
Ukrainian authorities detained Oleksandr Yefremov, a close ally of ousted pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych
US Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford will visit Turkey tomorrow following the failed coup attempt
Iraq says al-Baghdadi's aide was killed in airstrike near Syrian border
Reinforcements come amid protests in Tripoli and other Libyan cities against French military intervention in the country
U.S. authorities have issued subpoenas to Goldman Sachs for documents related to the bank’s dealings with the Malaysia 1MDB investment fund
Additional police have been deployed as a security measure following a threat at Amsterdam