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Wednesday, December 05, 2012       23:42 WIB
Chad leader slams 'total confusion' on Mali intervention

PARIS, Dec 05, 2012 (AFP)
Chad's President Idriss Deby Itno on Wednesday denounced the confusion surrounding plans for a UN-backed military intervention to oust Islamists in control of northern Mali.

After meeting with French President Francois Hollande, Deby said it was premature to discuss whether Chadian troops would participate in a military operation because "there is total confusion" about if and when the mission might take place.

"It is not today (a question) of whether Chad will send troops or not, but Mali telling us if it wants them and (West African group) ECOWAS telling us what approach, what roadmap" it is proposing, Deby said.

Referring to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's lukewarm remarks on an intervention last week, Deby said it needed to be clarified whether a military mission was still on the table.

"If the military option is excluded and there is a possibility of negotiating with terrorists, we should be told," he said.

He said his country, though not a member of ECOWAS, was ready to back Mali in the crisis.

"Chad is with the people of Mali so that Mali can restore its territorial integrity and stability," Deby said.

Calls from African leaders for an intervention are mounting as the United Nations is expected to decide before the end of the year whether to authorise military action.

ECOWAS says it is ready to deploy 3,300 troops to reclaim northern Mali, where ethnic Tuareg and Islamist rebels seized swathes of territory after a March coup.


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