African Union head seeks global coalition to intervene on Mali

Reuters Middle East

* Benin president says terrorism international problem

* Harper concerned but not planning direct military mission

OTTAWA, Jan 8 (Reuters) - The head of the African Union,

Benin President Boni Yayi, called on Tuesday for a global

coalition to intervene against Islamist rebels in northern Mali,

but Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said he had no plans

to join the U.N.-sanctioned force.

The capture of the northern two-thirds of Mali by Islamist

groups has sown fears that it could become a center for radicals

to plot international attacks, and Yayi said terrorism was an

international problem that required an international response.

"It's not...a purely African question. It's a world

question, an international question," Yayi told a news

conference with Harper after their ministers signed a foreign

investment protection agreement.

Harper said Canada would provide humanitarian aid and

signaled great concern about the situation, but said: "The

government of Canada is not considering a direct Canadian

military mission."

The 15-nation U.N. Security Council in December unanimously

authorized the deployment of an African-led military force to

help defeat al Qaeda and other Islamist militants in northern


(Reporting by David Ljunggren and Louise Egan; Editing by

Cynthia Osterman; Writing by Randall Palmer)

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