Military strategists have drawn up a plan for war in Mali.
Planners from Africa, Europe and the UN met at a conference in Bamako this week to help the African nation take back its northern region from Al Qaeda-linked rebels, African officials told Reuters on Tuesday.
The plan is scheduled to be presented at the United Nations on November 26, according to Agence France Presse. On October 12, the Security Council gave leaders 45 days to sketch out a plan to recapture the north, Reuters reported.
The strategy reportedly involves a force of over 4,000, mostly from West African countries, and "every military option will be used - ground and air," an anonymous official told Reuters.
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Many of the strategists say it is crucial that Mali's neighbors do not stand in the way of military action, and ideally support the mission — especially Algeria, one of the region's strongest armies which has ample experience battling Al Qaeda, UPI reported.
"Mauritania and Algeria must involve themselves more fully," Foreign Minister of Cote d'Ivoire Daniel Kablan Duncan said.
"You cannot enter talks with drug smugglers," said Aboudou Cheikh Touré, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) special representative to Mali, North African news website Magharebia reported. "You cannot enter talks with someone who takes people hostage. You cannot talk with people who deliberately choose to extinguish the Malian nation."
Touré also said that the prospect of war was "inevitable."
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