UN to use surveillance drones in northern Mali

Both ethnic Tuareg separatist rebels and al-Qaeda-linked rebels remain active in northern Mali.

UN to use surveillance drones in northern Mali

World Bulletin / News Desk

Surveillance drones are to be used by the United Nations in Mali's volatile and vast northern desert region.

Herve Ladsous, the head of UN peacekeeping, told the UN Security Council they would help protect civilians and troops.

After French and African troops ousted Tuareg separatists from the main towns in 2013, an 8,000-strong UN force was deployed to help stabilise the region.

Both ethnic Tuareg separatist rebels and al-Qaeda-linked rebels remain active in the north.

The Associated Press news agency reported that Mali's Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop said the government would like the drones to be in service "as soon as possible".

After fighting in Kidal in May, three Tuareg rebel groups agreed a ceasefire with Mali's government.

Mr Ladsous said the drones, known as unmanned aerial systems, would be used to enhance "situational awareness" the UN's ability to protect civilians and staff.

He stressed the importance of peace talks to stability and reversing the deterioration of security in Kidal.

"A successful political process is the cornerstone" to stability, the UN peacekeeping chief told the Security Council.

Despite a "promising start" a year ago "the government and the armed groups have made little progress towards real, substantive dialogue", he warned. 

Last Mod: 19 Haziran 2014, 16:03
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