UN urges Mali government to hold presidential vote in July

The U.N. peacekeeping chief is urging Mali's government to do everything possible to hold presidential elections on schedule in mid-July.

Jean-Pierre Lacroix told the Security Council on Tuesday that last week's adoption of a timeline for the government, Tuareg separatists, and armed groups to implement a June 2015 peace agreement by the end of March was an important step.

He said this should lead to progress on a host of issues including reform of the security sector and establishing security conditions for the presidential vote as well as local and regional elections in April.

Lacroix said "it's urgent that we confront the fact that we're racing against time in Mali. We are confronting increasing insecurity."

Mali has been in turmoil since a 2012 uprising that led to an Islamic insurgency.