By Louis Charbonneau
UNITED NATIONS | Thu Dec 20, 2012 4:10pm EST
(Reuters) - The 15-nation U.N. Security Council on Thursday unanimously authorized the deployment of an African-led military force to help defeat al Qaeda and other Islamist militants in northern Mali.
The French-drafted resolution also authorized the 27-nation European Union and other U.N. member states to help rebuild the Malian security forces, who are to be assisted by the international African force during an operation in northern Mali that is not expected to begin before September 2013.
The adoption of the resolution was the result of a compromise that ended weeks of disagreements between the United States and France over how best to tackle the problem of Mali, where al Qaeda-linked insurgents seized vast swathes of territory in March.
The resolution authorizes the deployment for an initial period of one year of an African-led intervention force, to be known as AFISMA, to take "all necessary measures, in compliance with applicable international humanitarian law and human rights law."