United Nations - The U.N. Security Council is not ready to agree to an African Union request for endorsement of military intervention in Mali, where rebels and Islamist militants have seized control of much of the country, council diplomats said on Friday.
"It's going to take some time before the Security Council is in a position to approve outside intervention in Mali," a council diplomat told Reuters on condition of anonymity. "It's not that we're opposed, it's just that there are many questions about how it would be done that need to be answered first."
Mali, once regarded as a good example of African democracy, collapsed into chaos after soldiers toppled the president in March, leaving a power vacuum that enabled Tuareg rebels from the north to take control of nearly two-thirds of the country.
The uprising also involved both local and foreign Islamist militants, and Western diplomats talk of the risk of the country turning into a "West African Afghanistan."
The African Union said on Tuesday it had asked the U.N. Security Council for a resolution that would allow military intervention in Mali.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), an umbrella group of 15 countries aimed at promoting regional cooperation, says it is ready to organize military intervention to restore constitutional order in the country, but wants a U.N. Security Council mandate and U.N. support.
Earlier this week the U.N. Security Council met informally with members of African Union's Peace and Security Council. They issued a declaration afterwards that stopped short of giving ECOWAS a green light to intervene in Mali.
The statement said the two bodies "acknowledge the efforts of ECOWAS to explore options to restore peace and security in Mali in the context of upholding Mali's territorial integrity."