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France to propose first U.N. targeted sanctions over Mali violence

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - France will propose the first names to be blacklisted by the United Nations Security Council for violating or obstructing Mali's 2015 peace deal, French U.N. Ambassador Francois Delattre said on Wednesday.

Anyone added to the blacklist would be subjected to a global travel ban or asset freeze. Proposals for designations are submitted to the Security Council's Mali sanctions committee, which operates by consensus.

The 15-member council last September established a Mali sanctions regime that allows the body to blacklist anyone who violates or obstructs the 2015 peace deal, hinders the delivery of aid, commits human rights abuses or recruits child soldiers.

But so far it has not designated anyone.

"There have been considerable delays and a lack of implementation (of the peace deal) which prompts us to go further; we no longer have time to wait," Delattre told the council.

"France together with its partners will in the weeks to come ... engage in work to identify those who obstruct the implementation of the peace agreement and this work will lead to designation proposals," he said.

A 2015 peace deal signed by Mali's government and separatist groups has failed to stop violence in northern Mali by Islamist militants, who have also staged assaults on high-profile targets in the capital, Bamako, Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast.

French forces intervened in 2013 to drive back Islamist fighters who had hijacked a Tuareg uprising to seize Mali's desert north in 2012. The U.N. Security Council then deployed peacekeepers to the country.

Attacks on U.N. troops have made it the world body's deadliest peacekeeping mission. Anyone who attacks peacekeepers could be blacklisted by the Security Council.

Five countries - Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad, Mali and Mauritania - backed by France, also launched a new task force last year to tackle Islamist militants in West Africa's arid Sahel region.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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