French officials say the UN Security Council is poised to adopt a draft resolution paving the way for military intervention in Mali.
The resolution seeks a detailed plan within 30 days from West Africa's Economic Community Of West African States (Ecowas), the African Union and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on an international military intervention in Mali in a bid to oust militants from the country's north.
Adoption of the text is anticipated for 7pm GMT Friday, the French mission to the United Nations announced via Twitter.
After details for military intervention are submitted, the 15-member Security Council would still have to pass a second resolution to greenlight the deployment. That resolution is not expected until late November at the earliest.
In March, military putschists seized power in the capital Bamako, ousting President Amadou Toumani Toure, only to see the north and east fall to Tuareg rebels and militias linked to al-Qaeda.
The draft resolution urges the country's transitional authorities and rebel groups "to engage as soon as possible in a credible negotiation process in order to seek a sustainable political solution" to the crisis gripping Mali for months.
Adoption of the document does not appear to face any fundamental problems, Security Council diplomats have said in recent days.
The draft resolution asks for "detailed and actionable recommendations to respond to the [Malian government's] request for such an international military force", including the concept of operations, force generation capacities and strength.
Bamako has formally requested a UN mandate for an international military force with a deployment in Mali of West African troops that would help reconquer the north.
For some six months now, the Security Council has called in vain for details on the intervention, including its objectives and logistical needs.
A meeting is set for October 19 in Bamako with representatives from Ecowas, the African Union, the European Union and the United Nations in an attempt to develop a "coherent strategy", a diplomat said. – AFP