U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.), chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs, issued the following statement applauding the United Nations Security Council vote on intervention in northern Mali:
"The Security Council has reaffirmed its strong commitment to the territorial integrity of Mali and voted unanimously to authorize the deployment of an African-led military mission for one year. I applaud passage of this resolution, which also urged the restoration of Mali's national unity and constitutional order, including through peaceful and credible elections to be held as soon as possible.
"I strongly support the action of the Security Council and echo its call for the international community to provide coordinated assistance to Malian and regional security forces. This African-led model for military intervention has recently proven effective in Somalia, and the United States -- in cooperation with the European Union and our other international allies -- stands ready to provide training, equipping and other forms of support.
"An African-led military intervention into northern Mali should begin as soon as regional forces are trained and ready to confront Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and other Islamic extremists who have demonstrated a deplorable disregard for human rights and freedom. Today, the international community has spoken in one voice to say we will work to resolve the security, humanitarian, and political crises in Mali and help the Malian people take back the north from AQIM and associated groups.
"In the U.S. Congress, I stand ready to provide meaningful support to regional efforts along with the European Union and other international donors. This is an investment in Mali's future with significant security implications for U.S. interests in Africa and throughout the world. I strongly support ongoing efforts to help Malians restore democracy as soon as possible, encourage negotiations with credible northern groups, provide humanitarian aid to those in need, and partner with Economic Community of Western African States and the African Union troops aiming to help restore Mali's territorial integrity and take back the north from extremist groups.
"Finally, I echo the call of the Security Council that no member of the Malian military should interfere in the workings of the interim government, and appropriate measures should be considered for anyone undermining Mali's stability, security, and constitutional order. Captain Sanogo and others facing U.S. sanctions due to their involvement in the March 2012 coup must immediately stop meddling in Mali's political affairs."