Armed men patrol the streets of a city in northern Mali. (File photo)
French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian says an African-led military intervention in Mali will be carried out in the first six months of 2013.
“The military intervention would be over the first half next year… For the moment, there is no political solution,” Le Drian said on Monday.
He also stated that France would only give “logistical aid” and that no French troopers will be deployed in Mali.
The remarks came four days after the United Nations Security Council approved foreign military intervention in Mali to help its government in the battle against militants controlling the northern part of the West African country.
The Security Council authorized an initial one-year-long deployment of African Union forces in Mali on December 20.
The resolution was drafted by France, and it also authorized all European Union member states to help rebuild Mali’s security forces.
In November, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) agreed to send 3,300 troops, mostly from Nigeria, Niger, and Burkina Faso, to help Mali’s government regain control of the north.
However, on November 29, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warned against a hasty military intervention in northern Mali, saying it could lead to a humanitarian crisis.
Chaos broke out in the African country after Malian President Amadou Toumani Toure was toppled in a military coup on March 22. The coup leaders said the move was in response to the government’s inability to contain the two-month-old Tuareg rebellion in the north of the country.
However, the Tuareg rebels took control of the entire northern desert region in the wake of the coup, but the Ansar Dine extremists pushed them aside and wrested control of the region.