France raises possibility of UN peacekeeping force for Mali with Security Council for 1st time

France says it has raised the possibility of establishing a U.N. peacekeeping operation in Mali with the U.N. Security Council for the first time.

France's U.N. Ambassador Gerard Araud told reporters that he started discussions on the issue during closed council consultations on Mali on Wednesday. He said a U.N. force would deploy only when security conditions permit.

"So I think we have to wait several weeks before assessing the security environment and taking the decision of deploying a peacekeeping operation," he said.

U.N. peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous said there is widespread international support for replacing the current French military operation, supported by African troops, with a U.N. peacekeeping operation, but this would require approval by the Malian government. Mali has reportedly raised some concerns.