A top al-Qaeda commander in North Africa has urged the people of Mali to reject foreign intervention as a way of solving the country's conflict, Al Jazeera reported on Thursday.
In a videotaped message obtained by the news network, Abu Mosaab Abdulwadood, says: "To the great and proud Muslim people of Mali we say, the problem in your country is an issue between Muslims.
"It can be solved internally, through reconciliation between Muslims, without having to shed a single drop of blood."
Islamists took control of much of northern Mali, following a coup in Bamako earlier this year. However, over the past eight months, rival groups - some with links to al-Qaeda - have been in conflict over the land.
Abu Mosaab Abulwadood's message coincides with UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon's recommendation for a one-year African Union mission to be sent to combat the Islamist militants.
Mr Ban recommended that the UN Security Council authorize African Union member states to establish the 3,300-strong military mission to reclaim territory, saying it would help "restore the unity and territorial integrity of Mali and reduce the threats posed by terrorist and affiliated groups and transnational organized crime."
But he said the military operation was "a last resort".
"I am profoundly aware that if a military intervention in the north is not well conceived and executed, it could worsen an already fragile humanitarian situation and also result in severe human rights abuses," he said.