UNITED NATIONS – The U.N. Security Council has given a green light for a new peacekeeping force in Mali to start deploying on July 1.
Britain's U.N. Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant told reporters after closed consultations Tuesday that the council unanimously agreed that the deployment should go ahead on schedule, despite serious logistics conditions and the extreme heat in Mali.
In late April, the council authorized a U.N. peacekeeping force comprising 11,200 military personnel and 1,440 international police to replace a 6,000-member African-led mission now in Mali. It said the mission could be delayed if security conditions deteriorated before July 1.
Lyall Grant said the U.N. force will initially comprise the vast majority of troops from the African mission already there, who now have four months to meet U.N. human rights and equipment standards.