United Nations: UN leader Ban Ki-moon has welcomed France's military operation in Mali to prevent Islamist guerrillas from advancing on the capital.
Ban called for speeding up the deployment of African troops in the country and for work towards a political accord to end the crisis, his office said in a statement on Monday.
"The secretary general welcomes that bilateral partners are responding, at the request and with the consent of the government of Mali, to its call for assistance to counter the troubling push southward by armed and terrorist groups," it said, without mentioning French air strikes on Al-Qaeda targets.
Ban "hopes these actions will help to arrest the latest offensive while efforts continue to fully implement Security Council Resolution 2085," which gave approval for the deployment of an African force in Mali.
The Islamist offensive and French military response "underscore the urgency of implementing all aspects of the resolution," including mediation efforts by West African states and support for the proposed force and the Malian army.
Ban said he spoke on Sunday with France's Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius about the military intervention. French troops moved into Mali on Thursday to halt the Islamist thrust into government territory.


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