Mali warns any cut in UN force will strengthen terrorists

Mali's prime minister is urging the Security Council to maintain its more than 16,000-strong peacekeeping mission in the country, warning that any reduction will end up strengthening terrorist groups and endangering the "fragile progress" toward peace.

Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga addressed the council Friday after U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale expressed disappointment "at the lack of significant progress" toward implementing a 2015 peace deal and called for a re-evaluation of the peacekeeping mission.

Hale asked Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to provide the council with options for "a significant adaptation" of the Mali force in time for negotiations on the renewal of its mandate which expires in June.

Mali has been in turmoil since a 2012 uprising prompted mutinous soldiers to overthrow the president of a decade.