France says it will circulate a draft U.N. resolution aimed at encouraging a political and military response to the crisis in Mali where a junta-led coup toppled the democratically elected government and led to a takeover of the north by Islamic militants.

The French action is aimed as stepping up pressure on the coup leaders and ousted government to resolve their standoff, and on the West African regional group known as ECOWAS to prepare a workable plan with detailed options for an African military intervention force to oust the al-Qaida linked Islamists.

France's U.N. Ambassador Gerard Araud said Thursday the resolution to be circulated in a few days would be a first step, one that he hoped would be followed by Security Council authorization for deployment of the African force.