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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

U.N. council alarmed by al Qaeda presence in Mali

(Reuters) - The U.N. Security Council said on Wednesday it was worried by al Qaeda's presence in Mali and warned that Islamist extremists could further weaken security in the West African country where a military coup last month has bolstered a separatist rebellion.

In its third statement since the March 22 coup by renegade soldiers angry at the Mali government's failure to stamp out the rebellion in the north of the country, the 15-nation Security Council again called for the restoration of constitutional rule.

The council also threw its support behind efforts by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to restore order in Mali. U.N. political affairs chief Lynn Pascoe told the council on Tuesday that ECOWAS had placed some 3,000 troops on standby to deal with the coup and rebellion in Mali.

Pascoe also said the situation in Mali had "taken a turn for the worse over the course of the past several days," Susan Rice, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, told reporters on Tuesday. Rice is president of the Security Council for April. Read More