U.S. maintains suspension of military assistance to Mali, says envoy
DAKAR (Reuters) - United States military assistance to the government of Mali will remain suspended despite the formation of a transitional government following the Aug.
DAKAR (Reuters) - United States military assistance to the government of Mali will remain suspended despite the formation of a transitional government following the Aug. 18 military coup, J. Peter Pham, U.S. Special Envoy to the Sahel, said on Wednesday.
Pham, who recently visited Mali and met the new leaders of the transition, told a news conference the interim government marked progress towards conducting free and fair elections.
"But until such time as those are held, and a constitutional government is restored, we are obliged under U.S. law to restrict our military assistance," Pham said.
The policy means Mali will be without U.S. military support, which includes training of troops, for the next 18 months, after which the interim authorities have pledged to hold an election.
The United States halted military support on Aug. 21 following the ouster of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.
Mali's international partners and neighbours are worried the coup, the second in less than a decade, could fuel further political instability and derail a joint fight against insurgents who have gained a foothold in the country.
Hopes of a smooth transition were dampened on Tuesday when an opposition coalition that led large-scale protests before the coup said it would not endorse the new government, claiming it had been sidelined in talks.
The United States has maintained its support during this period to other international partners in Mali such as France, who are battling militants there linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State.
Pham said security assistance to international partners such as the G5 Sahel nations, the French Barkhane operation and European Takuba task force, or cooperation with the United Nations mission to Mali, remains in place.
"The restrictions are specific. They are security assistance to the regime that takes over from an elected government. It doesn't involve humanitarian and development assistance which consist of the bulk of our assistance for Mali," he said.
(Reporting by Bate Felix; Additional reporting by Tiemoko Diallo in Bamako; Editing by Catherine Evans)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.