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UN mission in Mali justifies flights amid sanctions restrictions

DAKAR, January 16 (Reuters) - The UN peacekeeping mission in Mali has grounded its flights amid discussions over sanctions that have closed air and land borders to the West African country.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the regional monetary union sanctioned Mali last week after its caretaker government, set up in the wake of the 2020 and 2021 coups, proposed postponing planned elections by up to four years. Read more

"MINUSMA needs to temporarily suspend all flights. We are in discussions with our Malian partners about the new mechanism for approving MINUSMA flights," a spokesman said, adding that he expected a solution "very soon".

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MINUSMA has over 13,000 troops trying to stem the violence in the northern and central West African country, with Islamist groups linked to al-Qaeda and Islamic State carrying out regular attacks on civilians, soldiers and UN bases.

The mission has recorded about 230 deaths since 2013, making it the deadliest of UN peacekeeping missions.

(This story officially aims to delete the fifth paragraph after MINUSMA clarification, which omitted mention of aid deliveries)

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Reporting by Edward McAllister; Edited by Kevin Liffey

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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