UN expands its presence in Mali and extends peacekeeping mission

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The UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution on Wednesday, extending the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali for one year and expanding its protection of civilians to more rural areas in the restive northern region. The 11,200 military and 1,440 police personnel were mandated to operate in Mali until June 30, 2015.

The 15-member council also requested the mission expand its presence, within its capacities, in the north of Mali “beyond key population centres, notably in areas where civilians were at risk,” it said.

Tuareq separatists and later al-Qaeda associated militants took control of northern Mali in the wake of the 2012 military coup. The French and African military operations alongside the Malian army scattered militants and restored government control over the area, but terrorist activities and military operations still continue in some areas.

Wednesday’s resolution also requested the UN envoy in Mali to help start peace talks between the government and all communities in the north.

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