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But it’s not only the violent extremists. We now have drug traffickers and arms smugglers finding safe havens and porous borders, providing them a launching pad to extend their reach throughout not only the region, but beyond. And nearly 500,000 people have been displaced from their homes, and 4.5 million more are suffering from dwindling food supplies. This is not only a humanitarian crisis; it is a powder keg that the international community cannot afford to ignore.
The United States supports the appointment of a senior UN envoy empowered to lead a comprehensive international effort on Mali and the creation of a diplomatic core group. This effort must include coordinating the delivery of emergency aid, helping address longstanding political grievances of ethnic groups in the north, and preparing for credible elections.