Top of the Morning: USA And France Disagree on Mali Intervention; Staggering New Syrian Refugee Estimates; Advances Against Polio in Pakistan

Top stories from DAWNS Digest.

USA And France at Odds Over Mali Intervention

A high level meeting at the United Nations on the crisis in the Sahel exposed some divisions in the Security Council over potentially backing an ECOWAS military intervention in Mali. “French President Francois Hollande warned that Mali’s territorial integrity should be restored as soon as possible and that any lost time would only complicate matters. He said he wanted a resolution on Mali to be approved within weeks. France has ruled out intervening directly, but has promised logistical and intelligence support. Hollande’s calls were echoed by some of Mali’s neighbors, including Niger, whose foreign minister, Mohammed Bazoum, told delegates that only an armed intervention supported by friendly powers could eradicate insecurity in the region. But U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton signaled caution, saying that immediate efforts should concentrate on putting a legitimate government back in power in Mali before its internal divisions are addressed. ‘This is not only a humanitarian crisis; it is a powder keg that the international community cannot afford to ignore,’ Clinton said in her remarks. ‘In the end, only a democratically elected government will have the legitimacy to achieve a negotiated political settlement in northern Mali, end the rebellion and restore the rule of law,’ Clinton added.” (Reuters

UN Refugee Agency Dramatically Revises Upwards Number of Syrian Refugees by Year’s End

From UNHCR: “The UN’s refugee agency has warned that as many as 700,000 people could have fled Syria by the end of the year, a huge increase on its previous estimate. Some 294,000 refugees have already left Syria, and the UNHCR is appealing for $490m to deal with the crisis…The UNHCR said between 2,000 and 3,000 refugees were fleeing the violence into neighbouring countries every day. “Many refugees are arriving with only the clothes on their backs,” said Panos Moumtzis, the agency’s regional co-ordinator for Syrian refugees. “Some have been displaced many times before leaving Syria. They need humanitarian assistance from day one.” The agency said in March it estimated that about 100,000 people would have fled by the end of the year. But that number was surpassed in July. The agency said it was urgently trying to prepare for winter, warning that many of the refugees were still living in tents.” (BBC

Pakistan: Vaccine Push Reaches Federally Administered Tribal Areas

A massive effort by the Pakistani government and civil society during September brought polio vaccines to the previously unreachable Federally Administered Tribal Areas. “Up until this year, children in all seven FATA agencies have been the worst victims of the Taliban’s ban on the oral polio vaccination (OPV), which the organisation claims was a ploy by the United States to render the recipients impotent and infertile, thus strangling the growth of the Muslim population. On Jun. 20 the outlawed Tehreek Taliban Pakistan (TTP) banned vaccinations in North Waziristan, putting 161,000 at risk of contracting the preventable childhood disease.” The coordinated effort meant that 95% of the children in the Tirah area were vaccinated against polio and many received other essential vaccines such as the one for measles. (IPS