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Posted on Jan 19, 04:45PM | IBNS
A United Nations team is set to arrive in the Malian capital of Bamako Saturday to support the national authorities in their quest to restore constitutional order and territorial integrity.
The advance team, led by Joao Honwana of the Department of Political Affairs (DPA), will start its consultations with the Malian authorities on Monday, UN spokesperson Martin Nesirky told reporters in New York.
"The role of the advance team is to engage with the Malian authorities to ensure full UN support in the implementation of resolution 2085 on both its political and security tracks," he stated.
Resolution 2085, adopted by the Security Council in December 2012, authorized the deployment of an African-led International Support Mission in Mali, known as AFISMA, for an initial period of one year to assist the authorities in recovering rebel-held regions in the north and restoring the unity of the country.
The resolution also requested the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to establish, in consultation with the national authorities and for an initial period of one year, a "multidisciplinary United Nations presence in Mali" to provide coordinated and coherent support to the ongoing political and security processes in the country.
The initial team includes representatives of the Departments of Field Support, Peacekeeping Operations, Public Information, Safety and Security, as well as the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
It was also announced Friday that the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for West Africa, Said Djinnit, was in Bamako Thursday and met with the President of Mali, Dioncounda Traore.
"They shared views about the fast evolving situation on the ground. Djinnit also stressed the importance of the political process," Nesirky told reporters.
Djinnit is in Abidjan Friday, attending the Mediation and Security Council of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). He will participate in the ECOWAS Heads of States Summit on Saturday.
Fighting between Government forces and Tuareg rebels broke out in northern Mali last January, following which radical Islamists seized control of the area.
The renewed clashes in the North, as well as the proliferation of armed groups in the region, drought and political instability in the wake of a military coup d'etat in March have uprooted hundreds of thousands of civilians over the course of 2012.