Mali's president asks France for help to counter extremists and terrorist groups moving south

Mali's president is asking France for help to counter an advance by extremist and terrorist groups who are heading south.

France's U.N. Ambassador Gerard Araud said it is urgent to act against the threat from the groups, which took control of northern Mali last year.

He said Mali's president sent a letter to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and a similar letter to French President Francois Hollande.

Araud said Hollande will respond to the letter on Friday.

Araud spoke after emergency Security Council consultations on Mali on Thursday evening.