French President Francois Hollande said Monday he would support a U.N. intervention in Mali over concerns that political instability in the West African country will turn it into a hotbed for terrorist activity.
Hollande met with President Mahamadou Issoufou of neighboring Niger, who warned that the Tuareg insurgents who have taken over northern Mali are being trained by militant Islamic terrorist organizations like al Qaeda.
There is a threat of terrorist groups setting up in northern Mali. There is outside intervention that is destabilizing Mali and setting up groups whose vocation goes well beyond Mali, in Africa and perhaps beyond, Hollande said, according to the AFP news agency.
Issoufou said that his country, along with other West African nations, would seek approval from the U.N. Security Council for a military operation, assisted by the U.S. and France, to intervene in Mali, which has been destabilized following a military coup in March and a subsequent insurgency of ethnic Tuareg rebels in the north.
The French president, whose country is one of the five permanent members of the Security Council, said France's support was conditional upon African nations leading the initiative.
If an intervention is decided upon, it's for the Africans to lead it -- France, like other powers, putting themselves at the service of the United Nations, Hollande said, AFP reported.