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Ambassador Rice Tells ICP Mali Is "Moving Target," Might Need Subsequent Steps

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 19 -- The day before France said a Mali resolution would be voted on by the UN Security Council, still no final "blue" draft for voting has been circulated.

  An African diplomat told Inner City Press at noon on Wednesday that "now it's bilat[eral]s between France and the US, with an Algerian element thrown in."

  Inner City Press asked US Ambassador Rice if it would be accurate to report that's now at the stage of bilateral meetings between the US and France. She stopped and asked, what's the real question?

  Given this chance, Inner City Press asked if the US would agree, as France wants, to a single resolution providing the full support package for ECOWAS to support the current Malian authorities to reconquer Northern Mali.

  (Significantly, the current Malian authorities may include Sanogo and others involved in the coups d'etat).

   Ambassador Rice said, we are negotiating the current resolution, and that doesn't mean there won't be a need for subsequent steps, "it's a moving target." She said the US is working well with France and others.

  The day previous on December 18, when Inner City Press asked the shorter version of the question, Inner City Press asked  Ambassador Rice said, "It's being negotiated," she replied. Inner City Press asked, vote this week, Friday? Ambassador Rice, said, "If it's ready."

  Back on December 12, Inner City Press asked US Ambassador Susan Rice about Mali:

Inner City Press: One quick question on Mali. This resignation, or forced resignation, of the Prime Minister that took place earlier this week -- does it change the U.S.'s thinking at all on how the Council should proceed in terms of authorizing a force to reclaim Northern Mali?

Ambassador Rice: Well, as you, Mali has been and remains a very complex situation and from the United States' point of view we have multiple parallel interests and objectives, one of which, is the swiftest possible restoration of democratic government in Bamako. And indeed, what has transpired over the last few days is yet another setback in that regard. But we also are very much committed to collective effort, to ensure that there is not an enduring safe haven for terrorists in the north of Mali. And the Security Council resolution that is under discussion is yet another in a progression of potential actions and some obviously prior actions that we are working on to address, in particular, the challenge of restoring sovereignty and territorial integrity and ridding terrorists from the north of Mali. So we’ll continue to work with that interest at heart.

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