French troops from the Licorn
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Mali needs 'long-term strategy'

Is intervention in the troubled country of Mali justified. If so, how much?

France has sent troops, with support from other countries including Britain, and there is a multinational West African force. But after a decade in Afghanistan and Iraq at the cost of many civilian and soldiers' lives what judgement should be made about such a commitment?

"Instead of talking about exit strategies I just wonder whether we should be talking about a long-term strategy," former Labour Foreign Office minister Chris Mullin told the Today programme. "It would have to be done under UN mandate," he added.

"We should start to look at more long-term commitment to solve... the deep problems of some of the African countries," Moeletsi Mbeki of the South African Institute for International Affairs.

But he believes the focus should not be on the state. "It's the failure of the social systems, the failure of the people in power [and] the elites," he warned.

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4's Today Programme on Saturday 9 February 2013.

  • 09 Feb 2013
  • From the section World