U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.), chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs, released the following statement after the United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution on Mali calling for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and African Union (AU) to develop a multilateral plan to address the deteriorating security situation in northern Mali.
"The United Nations Security Council has taken a critical step toward approving an African-led intervention to take back the northern half of Mali from extremists. It is my hope that the passage of this resolution can bring ECOWAS and the Malian government one step closer to resolving thepolitical, humanitarian, and security crises that have plagued Mali in the past year and have threatened to destabilize the Sahel region. I am pleased that the comprehensive resolution also sought to address the political crisis in Mali by supporting a negotiation process between Bamako and the North, which is essential to resolving long-standing grievances and strengthening democratic institutions. I will continue to closely monitor the situation in Mali and encourage ongoing U.S. engagement -- in coordination with ECOWAS, the AU, the UN, and other international partners -- to support Mali's unity and territorial integrity, and to confront the threat posed by Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)."