UNITED NATIONS - The 15-nation UN Security Council on Thursday unanimously authorized the deployment for at least one year of an African-led military force to help defeat al-Qaida and other Islamist militants in northern Mali.

The French-drafted resolution also authorized the 27-nation European Union and other UN member states to help rebuild the Malian security forces, who are to be assisted by the international African force during an operation in northern Mali that is not expected to begin before September 2013.

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