LAGOS, Nigeria — West African nations on Sunday agreed to send some 3,000 troops to help the country of Mali wrest back control of its northern half, which was seized by al-Qaida-linked fighters more than six months ago, according to a statement read on Nigerian state television.
The decision came late Sunday at the end of an emergency summit in Nigeria's capital of the Economic Community of West African States, or ECOWAS. They were joined by military experts from the United Nations and Europe, as well as ministers from Algeria, Mali's neighbor to the north, which has previously been against the military intervention. The plan needs final approval from the U.N. Security Council before it can be carried out.
According to the Associated Press, an official involved in the negotiations said by telephone shortly after the meeting that the nations in West Africa are now unanimous in their decision to go forward with the military operation. He said that they will attempt one more round of negotiations with representatives of the Islamists controlling northern Mali before moving ahead with the intervention.