Vanguard (Lagos)

27 January 2013

Nigeria: Mali - Jonathan, At AU Meeting, Presses African Nations for More Troops

President Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday, arrive Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, for the 20th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of States and Governments of the African Union (AU) where he is expected to press further to secure the commitment of other African countries to send troops to participate as part of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) led intervention force now battling Al-Qaeda-linked Islamic militants in northern Mali. Already, Nigeria's diplomatic effort has secured South Africa, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania as well as Chad commitment to send troops to assist in the effort to curtail the spread of terrorism from Mali.

Nigeria's delegation, led by the Foreign Affairs Minister, Ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru, had met with other African government officials to press for their commitment to the multinational force. Ashiru informed a delegation of African and British government officials that the crisis is Mali should not to be seen just as a regional problem but with likely consequences outside the sub region if it was not controlled.

"Interestingly, nearly all the countries we have had meetings with on the sidelines of this AU Summit, have all been very forthcoming. They are all supportive of the leadership that Nigeria has shown. They are supportive of our efforts in Mali, they are supportive of what ECOWAS is doing to quickly assemble immediate force," he said. Ashiru went on: "countries such as Chad, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania and South Africa have all expressed determination to also contribute troops to the campaign going on in Mali.

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