The West African leaders gathered Saturday in Abidjan called for broader international engagement in military operations in Mali, where French and Malian soldiers fighting armed Islamist groups, pending the deployment of an African peacekeeping force.
The time has come for a broader engagement (...) order greater solidarity tied around France and Africa in the war against terrorism and multifaceted Mali, said the head of the Ivorian Ouattara.
We must go beyond our current staff with international support, he added.
Chairman of the Economic Community of West Africa (ECOWAS), Mr. Ouattara was speaking at the opening of a summit to accelerate the deployment of the regional force in Mali, in the presence of President Acting Dioncounda Malian Traore.
Chadian President Idriss Deby - whose country is not part of ECOWAS but promised to send 2,000 troops - and the French Minister of Foreign Affairs Laurent Fabius also participate.
Regional force, called the International Mission Support in Mali (Misma) has been mandated by the UN to help Mali to regain control of the north of the country, occupied for over nine months by armed Islamist groups that have multiplied abuses.
The French operation is not intended to replace the action of Misma to be deployed as soon as possible, and this is the object of our meeting, said Fabius at the top.
Tribute to France, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has promised from London: We will try to help in this effort. Washington has provided information and airlift to France.
And Nigerian President Mahamadou Issoufou told the French daily Le Parisien that France is in Mali to support that Mali and Africa.
MM. Fabius and Ouattara also stressed the need to resolve a political crisis in Mali, launched an offensive in January separatist Tuareg rebels then pushed out of northern Mali by Islamists.
Laurent Fabius also found compelling resume the civil authorities all things in hand, Mali, while the former junta of Captain Amadou Sanogo Haya - a time to power after the coup of March 2012 - still very influential in Bamako .
Some 2,000 members of the Misma must be made by 26 January. A hundred soldiers Togo and Nigeria have already arrived in Bamako and thirty Benin are underway.
Perhaps more than 2,500 French soldiers
Eight West African countries - Nigeria, Togo, Benin, Senegal, Niger, Guinea, Ghana and Burkina Faso - and Chad have announced their contribution to Misma which include some 5,800 soldiers to take over France.
This action continues alongside an army mlienne under-equipped: 2,000 French soldiers are present in Mali and they should move to 2500, according to Paris. Maybe we exceed them, said French Minister of Defence, Jean-Yves Le Drian.
Bamako announced that resumed Thursday Konna, 700 km northeast of Bamako, January 10 fell into the hands of Islamist militants, prompting French intervention.
Konna drop during this surprise offensive on January 10 sparked the intervention of France - who feared a breakthrough jihadists south and Bamako.
In the region of Diabali (west), the Malian colonel commanding the sector, said AFP Saturday that the Islamists had fled the city they had taken Monday and the Malian army was preparing to make its debut .
His statements confirm those people who said Friday that the jihadists had abandoned Diabali after several bombings of French aviation.
But on the other hand, the French Ministry of Defence had suggested that the city had not been taken.
In Algeria, the official news agency APS said that twelve and eighteen hostages kidnappers were killed in the assault on the Islamist commando who took hundreds of people hostage Wednesday on a gas site in the Sahara. They still held Friday, September foreign Amenas, 1,300 km south-east of Algiers, according to sources cited by the Islamist Mauritanian agency ANI.
The kidnappers ask France to negotiate an end to the war in Mali and offer free American hostages held by Islamists against the United States. Paris and Washington have confirmed the death of one of their nationals.