The United Nations Security Council has unanimously approved the creation of a 12,600-strong peacekeeping force in Mali, due to deploy on July 1st.
The resolution authorises it “to take active steps to prevent the return of armed elements” to the northern areas of the country.
The force will also aim to rebuild the Malian police as well as disarm former combatants.
Gerard Araud, French Ambassador to United Nations said:
“It’s a robust mandate. It’s a mandate of stabilisation. But it’s not an anti-terrorist mandate. They are not going to chase terrorists in the desert.”
Around 4,000 troops from Mali’s former colonial power, France, aided by some 2,000 Chadian troops began a military offensive in January after al-Qaeda linked extremists took over the north of the country.