UNITED NATIONS - The UN Security Council will soon begin discussing a possible United Nations peacekeeping force for Mali, an idea the world body had been uncomfortable with before France's recent military intervention, envoys said on Wednesday.
Last month, the 15-nation council approved an African-led force for Mali that likely would have been funded and trained by the European Union. That force would not have begun operations until late this year against Islamist militants who took control of a vast region of northern Mali last year.
However, France's military intervention this month against the militants in the West African nation rendered that plan moot, diplomats said.
"There is increasing talk of moving straight to a UN peacekeeping operation," a senior Western diplomat said on condition of anonymity. Another diplomat and a UN official confirmed that, saying the discussions would begin within days.
It is an issue that US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice first mentioned last week during a Security Council meeting. Other council members are now warming to the idea, the diplomats and UN officials said.