PARIS - West African nations will seek a UN Security Council mandate for military intervention in Mali where rising Islamist militancy has made the country an international security threat, Niger's President Mahamadou Issoufou said on Monday.

"ECOWAS (Economic Community Of West African States) has decided to refer to the Security Council with the objective of sending an armed force to Mali," Issoufou told a news conference after meeting French President Francois Hollande in Paris.

"I asked for the support of France for the resolution we are preparing," he said.

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 in the north to take control of nearly two-thirds of the country.

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