Outgoing African Union chairman Thomas Boni Yayi told African leaders that their response to the conflict in Mali had been too slow, and thanked France for taking the lead in its military intervention in the country.
Boni Yayi, Benin’s president, told leaders on Sunday at the opening of the 54-member AU summit that the body’s response had taken too long, and that France’s action was something “we should have done a long time ago to defend a member country”.
The ongoing conflict in Mali is likely dominate the African Union summit which has started in Addis Ababa, as regional leaders try to speed up the deployment of an African force there.
Following a security meeting on Friday, the AU resolved to bolster the strength of the African-led force in Mali, or AFISMA, and gave member states one week to commit troops to the mission.
“We definitely know, based on the first assumptions… that the force size will have to be significantly augmented,” AU peace and security commissioner Ramtane Lamamra told reporters after the security meeting.
Lamamra said AFISMA’s strength should be increased “to better respond to the needs on the ground,” but declined to give numbers.